A plan by disgraced former deputy tax commissioner Agnes Sin Law Yuk-lin and her husband to claim $330,000 in housing allowances failed to legally get around civil service rules, the Court of Appeal heard yesterday. In December 2000, Sin and her husband, senior Civil Engineering Department official Sin Kam-chuen, received a suspended nine-month jail term following their convictions in the District Court for deceptively obtaining $330,000 in housing allowances. The convictions have put at risk their pensions, estimated to be worth more than $7 million. In August last year, defence counsel Gerard McCoy, SC, told the Court of Appeal his clients wanted to clear their names and said they strongly denied any suggestion of greed or wrong intent. He said the couple's North Point property had been bought in 1983 through a shelf company, Takestep Co. The couple then swapped shares with close friends who had bought a flat in the same estate. Sin had declared in her allowances application in 1983 that the flat they were renting was not owned by any member of their family and they had no financial interest in it. But yesterday, when the appeal resumed, prosecutor Kevin Zervos told the court that if their arrangement was a genuine one, there was no need to involve a shelf company. 'All they had to do was go out and buy it [the flat] in their own names,' he said. 'The prosecution's case is that this was an arrangement between two families to unlawfully and improperly obtain housing allowance in circumstances where they knew they had to be a tenant and they were not.' The appeal against conviction continues before Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore, Mr Justice Simon Mayo and Mr Justice Frank Stock.