SHKP linked to family trust of defendant Thomas Chan

Companies under the trust of defendant Thomas Chan Kui-yuen had an interest in Sun Hung Kai Properties' projects, court told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 10:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 11:51pm

The family trust held by a "loyal" Sun Hung Kai Properties executive included companies that had "an interest in" the property giant, a court heard yesterday.

Another company under the trust was Villalta, allegedly part of an elaborate scheme to help the Kwok brothers of SHKP funnel millions of dollars to former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan.

The trust of SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, a defendant in the city's most high-profile corruption trial, came under scrutiny in the testimony of his brother-in-law, Basil Ho Pui-sing, as a prosecution witness. Ho, the younger brother of Chan's wife, is a finance manager at China Union Management, a company under TSCK Unit Trust - named after Thomas Chan, wife Selina and children Carrie and Kevin.

Ho drew the attention of the Court of First Instance to three other companies under the trust. "As far as I know, regarding Richsome, Splendid Kai and Hung Carom, it's possible they were linked to Sun Hung Kai," he said.

Prosecutor David Perry QC pointed out that Splendid Kai had an interest in the Sun Tuen Mun Centre, which Ho confirmed was an SHKP project.

When asked about Villalta's role in the trust, Ho said: "Basically, it's an investment company investing in non-property products, for example, stocks and deposits in foreign currencies."

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

Chan is accused of building up funds in Villalta's company account in 2007 in order to eventually channel HK$11 million to Hui. Prosecutors allege US$1.5 million was paid into Kwan's time deposit accounts, which were then used as security for two loans given to Hui.

Earlier yesterday, Kwan's sister-in-law Mabel Chan May-po continued to be cross-examined by his defence lawyers.

She said he had been trading in Alco-out, a drug that was said to ease the effects of hangovers and was sold in retail chains.

Kwan was "enthusiastic" about the profitable business, Mabel Chan said. "He said the product was effective," she told the court, adding she was a user.

"Everyone would be interested to know whether Alco-out works," Mr Justice Andrew Macrae quipped.

"Can I clarify something? The product, Alco-out, actually has another effect," she said. "It absorbs oil."

"Right, that's what you found in your experience," Macrae said amid laughter in the room, before adjourning the case to today.

Hui, 66, faces eight counts related to bribery and misconduct in public office. Thomas Kwok, 62, and Raymond Kwok, 61, face three and four charges, respectively. Chan, 67, and Kwan, 63, face two charges each. All plead not guilty.