Former banker Ewan Launder may have gone free last December after a top court quashed his conviction for bribery relating to the Carrian saga - but he has failed to escape the legal bills. In a written judgment delivered by Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang of the Court of Final Appeal yesterday, which ends the drawn-out saga, Mr Launder's motion for the prosecution to bear the brunt of his legal costs was dismissed. Mr Launder's legal costs are yet to be assessed. Chief Justice Li said the prosecution had not pursued a baseless case as Mr Launder 'clearly . . . drew suspicion on himself'. 'On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the appellant took many points. None of them were good, apart from the one on which he ultimately succeeded in this court,' he said. 'That point was based on a misdirection by the judge to the jury. Although fatal as uncorrected, it could have been put right if either the prosecution or the defence had noticed it. Unfortunately, neither did.' The former boss of Wardley - the merchant banking subsidiary of Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, now HSBC - was arrested in Britain in 1993 and returned to Hong Kong following a lengthy extradition battle. After his second trial, on March 25, 2000, Mr Launder was convicted on one count of accepting a $4.5 million bribe from ex-Carrian boss George Tan Soon-gin on or about October 11, 1980. He was acquitted of 12 other charges of accepting $39.45 million in bribes. Mr Justice Gareth Lugar-Mawson, sitting in the Court of First Instance, sentenced Mr Launder to five years. At the heart of Mr Launder's appeal against conviction was Justice Lugar-Mawson's use of the phrase 'showing favour'. The top court found that 'showing favour' suggested present and future, but not past, favours.