PROPERTY

Developer Socam rejects Beijing Jingda's writ accusing it of document theft

HK-listed firm counters claims by developer of upmarket home project

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 3:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 7:11pm

Hong Kong-listed Socam Development yesterday rejected claims that it stole financial documents belonging to a mainland company linked to the son of late state leader Hu Yaobang, insisting that it never took the paperwork related to a luxury Beijing villa project.

Socam's statement yesterday came after Beijing Jingda filed a High Court writ on Thursday accusing Socam of stealing Jingda's account books and other documents from the Beijing Fengqiao Villas project. Jingda, in which Hu's son, Hu Dehua, has a stake, is also demanding compensation for losses resulting from the alleged theft.

Jingda said in the writ that Socam sent more than 200 people armed with guns and chains to force staff out of the project's management office on August 2, 2009.

When Jingda staff regained access two months later it discovered that financial documents, account books and contracts were missing, it said. Without the records it could not process property titles and tax payments related to the project, resulting in "huge economic losses" to Jingda, the developer said.

But Socam rejected the claim.

"Since August 2, 2009 Socam has informed Beijing Jingda, directly and through Socam's lawyers on the mainland, that the company, its associated companies or related companies did not take away any of the documents mentioned in the writ of summons filed by Jingda against Socam, and that Socam had never possessed any of such documents," it said in a company statement yesterday.

Socam said that it lawfully acquired the 133 villas in the project between June 2007 and September 2008.

The Hong Kong company said Jingda refused its repeated attempts to enter the project to manage its legally acquired properties, and when the matter could not be resolved through negotiations, Socam's subsidiary appointed a security company to enter the Fengqiao villas area on August 2, 2009 "by reasonable and peaceful means in order to exercise its legal rights over the 133 villas".

The local authorities later mediated a deal between the two parties and on September 27, 2010, Socam and Jingda signed a resolution "recognising that all issues related to the Fengqiao villas had been resolved and that there existed no outstanding matter".

According to Socam, it "reserved all rights to seek compensation from Jingda for any loss arising from or in connection with the writ of summons filed by Jingda".

Socam sold the Fengqiao villa project for 943 million yuan (HK$1.187 billion) in September, 2010. Shares of Socam Development fell 0.4 per cent to close at HK$7.25 yesterday.