Senior counsel for the Securities and Futures Commission told the High Court yesterday that it should not approve PCCW's HK$15.9 billion privatisation as vote-rigging allegations surrounding the deal could destroy Hong Kong as an international financial centre. Winston Poon, the SFC's senior counsel, told the court that 465 of 1,404 votes in favour of the buyout deal at a PCCW shareholders' meeting on February 4 were linked to a group of Fortis Insurance Asia agents involved in the alleged vote-rigging which was carried out through a process of share-splitting. 'To allow share-splitting, which creates uncertainties or chaos, may have the effect of destroying the financial market in Hong Kong,' he said. The High Court hearing into whether the PCCW privatisation deal should be approved was completed yesterday. Madam Justice Susan Kwan Shuk-hing will hand down her judgment on Monday. PCCW shares have been suspended since Wednesday because of the hearing. The company was scheduled to be delisted on April 14. 'We have confidence in the judge,' Alex Arena, PCCW's group managing director, said outside the High Court. 'The court hearing over the past two days has dealt with complicated procedures, but the court was efficient in dealing with the submissions and evidence.' The court was told that the share-splitting allowed board lots of 1,000 PCCW shares to be divided and allocated to other people, allowing them a vote at the shareholders' meeting and increasing the number of votes in favour of the deal. As the meeting used a simple majority to approve the privatisation motion, shareholders were counted on a per head basis, regardless of how many shares they owned. Mr Poon submitted data analysing the voting results, saying that of the 1,404 votes in favour of the shares, 940 votes were transferred between December 30 and February 4. Of those 940 votes, 726 were holding only a single board lot of 1,000 PCCW shares, of which 465 were registered under Fortis Insurance agents' names. The SFC linked the 465 votes to Francis Yuen Tin-fan, deputy chairman of Pacific Century Regional Developments, and Lam Hau-wah, a regional head of Fortis Insurance, formerly known as Pacific Century Insurance and of which Mr Yuen was the chairman. Mr Poon told the court earlier that Mr Lam and Mr Yuen had held several phone conversations in December and on January 5. The SFC believed this had led to Mr Lam buying 500,000 PCCW shares from the market and distributing them as bonuses to over 400 Fortis staff to increase the chance of pushing the deal through. However, Benjamin Yu, for PCRD, denied the SFC allegations. He said contact had been made but the conversations were mostly about a management buyout plan of Fortis Insurance in Hong Kong.