Retired academic Steven Cheung Ng-sheong, who has been charged by US authorities with tax evasion, has launched a defamation action against a Hong Kong newspaper over a scandal involving alleged fake antiques. The former head of the School of Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong is suing Cheung Kin-bor, the editor of Ming Pao newspaper, and its parent company, Ming Pao Daily News Limited, for an article it published on January 27. The writ, filed in the High Court, said the article quoted a report in the Seattle Times which said Thesaurus Fine Arts, a Seattle shop to which the academic was a consultant, sold fake antiques. 'The said words meant, and were understood to mean, that the plaintiff cheated his customers by deliberately selling fake antiques,' the writ says. 'In consequence, the plaintiff's reputation has been seriously damaged and he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment.' The writ says the newspaper article was also available on the publisher's Web site, which could be accessed worldwide. Professor Cheung, 67, is seeking an injunction to restrain the newspaper from repeating the claims and is seeking an unspecified sum in damages. The Hong Kong academic and his wife, Linda Su Cheung, earlier filed another writ suing their former company lawyer, Muriel Tsang Miu I, for allegedly disclosing confidential financial information to the US authorities. The couple were charged last month by the grand jury in the Western District of Washington, Seattle, for defrauding the US and the Internal Revenue Service through tax evasion. They faced a total of 13 charges of conspiracy to defraud the US government, filing a false and fraudulent income tax return, and filing a false foreign bank account report. At a press conference last week, the professor railed against the US government and claimed the Seattle newspaper story was part of a smear campaign against him.