High-profile businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei denied instructing her personal assistant to sell shares and pocket HK$340,000, a court heard yesterday.
Chiang, 49, the former chairwoman of the General Chamber of Commerce, is on trial in the District Court with two other defendants on five charges of fraud and making false statements. Two of the charges are alternative.
The prosecution alleges that Chiang and co-defendant Pau Kwok-ping, 54, fraudulently claimed that shares in their company Eco-Tek Holdings were held by Chiang's assistant, Yip Yuk-chun, when they were actually owned by Chiang.
Chiang, who set up Eco-Tek in 1999, testified she gave Yip, her personal assistant of 15 years, almost 2 per cent of the shares in the company. After the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on December 5, 2001, Yip owned 1.6 per cent of the shares, Chiang said.
'I was showing my gratitude for her help all these years. She even spent her personal time to assist me,' Chiang said. She denied instructing Yip to sell the shares on December 6, 2001. '[Yip] only asked if I'd be angry if she sells them ... I said I wouldn't because it was my gift to you, but I think that the company has a good future,' Chiang said.
Yip, who testified earlier under immunity, told the court that Chiang had instructed her to deposit the money into Yip's personal bank account on December 12, 2001, and to withdraw HK$340,000 on December 18, 2001. Yip also testified that Chiang had told her to keep the difference of HK$30,000 as a bonus - a claim Chiang denies.
Chiang testified that in 2004 she donated all her shares in Eco-Tek to a charitable foundation that she set up for children, the court heard.
In a separate scheme, the prosecution alleged Chiang and Tahir Hussain Shah, 45, had conspired with others to defraud shareholders of Pacific Challenge Holdings, the Securities and Futures Commission and the stock exchange. They allegedly concealed that employees who were granted share options were not in fact the owners.
Shah was accused of telling the SFC that Tang Wai-shing was an investment manager of Pacific Challenge Holdings when he was hired as a driver, the court heard earlier.
The trial continues today.