Businesswoman Sun Min has been handed a record fine and costs totalling just under HK$24 million by the Market Misconduct Tribunal for insider trading in connection with Coca-Cola's failed bid to acquire the Hong Kong-listed China Huiyuan Juice Group in 2008.
The tribunal announced the HK$23.88 million penalty yesterday after Sun was convicted in March. Of the total, HK$21.15 million is her profit from the trade.
It is the highest fine ever imposed by the tribunal, chaired by Mr Justice Michael Hartmann, who tried the case along with two members of the public.
The tribunal also banned Sun from taking a board position in any listed company and trading any shares or futures contracts in the Hong Kong market for nine months.
She was found guilty of insider dealing of 3.13 million Huiyuan shares on four different occasions in August 2008 after she learnt that Coca-Cola was trying to acquire the mainland juice maker Huiyuan before the bid was made public.
Huiyuan shares were suspended on September 1, 2008, at HK$4.14 per share. Trading resumed two days later, with a public announcement by Coca-Cola of its proposal to acquire Huiyuan for HK$12.20 per share. That day, Huiyuan's stock shot up to 164 per cent to HK$10.94 and Sun sold the shares.
The Coca-Cola deal fell through in March 2009 when the Ministry of Commerce rejected the acquisition on the grounds that the US soft drink giant would dominate the mainland market if it acquired Huiyuan.
Sun and her husband Peter Mok Fung were directors and shareholders of Transfield Resources, a shipping and trading company.