An accountant who leaked information to a former schoolmate after sitting on an insider-dealing tribunal was fined $100,000 yesterday. John Wu Chi-tso, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to preserve secrecy as a lay member of the tribunal in 1998. He admitted leaking confidential information about the inquiry to Francis Cheung Nim-chee during an alumni gathering on April 7, 1998. Prosecutor John Reading told the court the case was the first of its kind and he was not pressing for a custodial sentence as there was no suggestion of Wu making any financial gain. District Court judge Li Zong-er said he accepted Wu had committed the offence to show loyalty to his alumni and might not have realised the implications - but his acts were unacceptable. 'The defendant sat as a member of the insider-dealing tribunal and was in a judicial capacity . . . it's the confidentiality and trust among members of the tribunal that the defendant betrayed,' Judge Li said. The judge adopted $300,000 as a starting point for a fine and cut it to $100,000 after taking into account Wu's guilty plea and that the matter had been hanging over his head since 1998. The delay was due to an appeal brought by Mr Cheung, who was the subject of the tribunal's investigation, the judge said. 'The defendant's loyalty to his school friend did not attract gratitude . . . but was rather used [by Mr Cheung] as a grounds of appeal,' he said. 'The defendant should have thought more before doing something so silly.' Mr Reading told the court Wu was appointed by the Financial Secretary in July 1997 as a lay member of an insider-dealing tribunal to inquire into whether insider dealing had occurred in the purchase of shares of Chee Shing Holdings Ltd, now known as Tysan, of which Mr Cheung was then the vice-chairman. The tribunal, featuring a chairman and another lay member, found Mr Cheung guilty of insider dealing on March 30, 1998. On April 7, after the report of findings was sent to parties but before the penalty for the offence had been decided, Wu met Mr Cheung at a gathering of the King's College Old Boys' Association. Wu discussed Mr Cheung's likely penalty and explained that, as two other members had found him guilty, there was no point in his (Wu) dissenting, the court heard. As proof, Wu even sent a bundle of confidential notes made by the other lay member during the inquiry to Mr Cheung's office on April 14, Mr Reading said. Wu resigned as a lay member of the tribunal and was arrested on April 21 this year. Mr Cheung had challenged the tribunal's finding on the basis that Wu had kept a dissenting view to himself, but his lawsuit was thrown out by the Court of Final Appeal last November. The tribunal fined him $12.18 million on June 29.