Chinese Estates Holdings chairman Joseph Lau Luen-hung spent only about three hours a day in the office during 1996, the insider dealing tribunal was told yesterday. Executive director Thomas Lau Luen-hung said his elder brother had not handled the company's daily operations since 1992. Joseph Lau denies profiting illegally ahead of the company's 1996 sale of the Entertainment Building in Central to Hysan Development. The chairman is alleged to have made a profit of $15 million trading his company's shares and warrants from November 19 to 21, 1996. News of the $3.6 billion sale of the building was announced on November 22, 1996. Joseph Lau, Chinese Estates' largest shareholder with 52.96 per cent, was an active manager in the early years, the tribunal heard. However, since 1992 he passed much of the company's daily operations to his brother. During the year of the Entertainment Building transaction, Joseph Lau typically came in at 2.30pm or 3pm and left at about 5pm to 6pm, the hearing was told. After work, he would usually play cards with friends in the evening, the tribunal heard. The short working day explained why Joseph Lau - although the chairman and largest shareholder - was 'seldom informed' about the Entertainment Building transaction. Thomas Lau was in charge of the deal, the tribunal was told. However, Thomas Lau confirmed he had told his brother about a preliminary discussion on a possible offer three weeks before the deal was done. He also told Joseph Lau about the concrete proposal late in the afternoon of November 20, 1996, and had rung again and informed him that night after negotiating with Hysan's lawyers. 'I told him [Joseph Lau] the deal had not been completed since Hysan wanted to change some of the details of the proposed offer,' he said. The hearing continues today.