A private investment banker received HK$55 million in kick-backs during a four-year stock-exchange corruption spree, a court was told yesterday. Kevin Lee Kwok-wing was alleged to have taken 'secret commissions' from third parties including chairmen and managing directors of four listed companies in return for buying shares during placement exercises, according to prosecutors. It is alleged the purchases were made on behalf of Rockefeller (Far East), the Asian arm of the New York investment firm, where the 41-year-old worked as managing director from September 1990 to October 1996. Lee is accused of not acting in the best interest of his employers and of not seeking or receiving permission to accept advantages for buying the stocks. He denies 18 fraud and corruption charges. The public companies concerned were AWT World Transport Holdings, Styland Holdings, Pacific Andes International Holdings and Tem Fat Hing Fung (Holdings). AWT boss Alfred Lam King-ko in February 1993 put HK$2.1 million into a bank account controlled by the accused after Rockefeller paid HK$21 million to take up 12 million shares during a placement, the court was told. In March 1993, Lee is alleged to have accepted a bribe of HK$4 million - paid in two casino cash cheques - from Kenneth Cheung, chairman and major shareholder of Styland Holdings. This was in return for Rockefeller and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) buying 24.16 million Styland shares, it is alleged. Lee is accused of then bribing GIC's Asia-Pacific regional manager Eddie Taw Cheng-kong HK$1 million for the purchase. Prosecutor Bernard Ryan told the Court of First Instance that in August 1995 Lee received 3.15 million shares in Pacific Andes from its managing director, Ng Joo-siang. This was an alleged reward for Rockefeller's purchase of nine million Pacific Andes shares during a placement. The accused then in turn gave 1.575 million shares to GIC's Mr Taw, the jury heard. Lee took HK$1.37 million from Alexander Chan Fat-leung, managing director and major shareholder of Tem Fat Hing Fung Holdings, Mr Ryan continued. The money was in return for Rockefeller and GIC purchasing shares in the company in August 1993, the prosecutor said. Lee also received HK$21.59 million from broker Robin Lam of PBI Securities. On 16 occasions, the jury heard, money was paid for Rockefeller's purchase of various stocks during 1993. Lee is also accused of taking part in a scheme devised by Robin Lam to ramp the share price of Rhine Holdings between September 1995 and March 1996. It is alleged that on four occasions, Lee accepted HK$2.15 million in cash - which he kept in a safety deposit box - in return for Rockefeller buying 20.5 million Rhine shares to help manipulate its price. However, the share price fell sharply in March 1996, Robin Lam fled Hong Kong, and Lee was forced to honour guarantees he had entered into, the jury heard. The accused then conspired to sell Rockefeller's Indonesian and Malaysian stocks at below market price to make a quick profit of HK$4.43 million, prosecutors claim. Other charges relating to trading on the Melbourne branch of the Australian Stock Exchange were read out to the jury yesterday. In all, Lee faces 11 counts of accepting an advantage, one of conspiring to accept an advantage, three charges of offering an advantage and three of conspiring to defraud. His conduct came to the attention of the Securities and Futures Commission in April 1996 when unusual trading in Rhine Holdings was detected, Mr Ryan said. An ICAC investigation then followed, and Lee was charged in 1998. The case before Mrs Justice Verina Bokhary continues.