SHKP's Thomas Chan did not need extra funds to make payments, Hui trial hears

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 3:45pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 June, 2014, 2:33am

The moneyed account of a Sun Hung Kai Properties executive's own firm was not built up in 2007 for the purpose of channelling millions to the city's former No 2 official Rafael Hui Si-yan, the High Court heard yesterday.

SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen already had "plenty" of money in the account - as much as HK$152 million - and would not need to deposit another HK$40 million in order to pay out HK$12 million in November that year, his lawyer Ian Winter QC said.

Chan is accused of building up funds in the UBS account of his company, Villalta, from August to September 2007 as part of an elaborate plan to pay Singapore firm Wedingley HK$12 million, of which HK$11 million allegedly went to Hui. Winter called that allegation "wholly wrong".

The prosecution alleges SHKP co-chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen gave Hui HK$8.5 million and HK$11 million in 2005 and 2007 via Chan and Hui's friend Francis Kwan Hung-sang, so Hui would be SHKP's "inside man" in the government.

The HK$12 million paid to Wedingley was an "investment", Winter said in his cross-examination of Gerry Cheung Gee-yin, a director of UBS Hong Kong.

Villalta's UBS account in Singapore contained HK$98 million by June 30, 2007, Winter noted. In August, HK$40 million was transferred from an account held by Chan and his wife to the Villalta account. "It is wholly wrong, isn't it, to say that the HK$40 million was merely added to the account in order to pay the HK$12 million?" he asked. Cheung agreed.

Winter also noted that the account had HK$152 million in October and November 2007.

"It is a fact, isn't it, that … the Villalta account had plenty of liquid currency in it from which these payments could be made?" he asked. Cheung agreed.

Prosecutors allege the HK$12 million Wedingley received was paid into Kwan's time deposit accounts, which were used as security to borrow loans paid to Hui.

Hui, 66, faces eight counts related to bribery and misconduct in public office. Thomas Kwok, 62, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges; one with Hui of furnishing false information. SHKP executive director Chan, 67, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Kwan, 63, face two charges. All pleaded not guilty. The trial continues on Monday.