Explainer: Who’s who in the tangled web of the Convoy enigma
Here’s the cast of characters in the tangled web of Convoy Global Holdings, one of Hong Kong’s largest financial advisory firms, with 100,000 customers including the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund.
The company, listed in 2010, is now the subject of the city’s largest financial investigation in decades, a joint operation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Securities and Future Commission (SFC).
*Richard Tsai Ming-hsing and his family, who control Taiwan’s second-largest financial conglomerate Fubon Financial Holding, are the biggest shareholders in Convoy. They paid HK$4.04 billion (US$516.9 million) for a 29.89 per cent stake through a placement of new shares in September 2015. The proceeds from the placement were intended to develop Convoy’s operations in money lending, margin financing for subscribing to initial public offerings and asset management, but may have been siphoned off by company insiders, according to lawsuits filed in Hong Kong.
*Kwok Hiu-kwan is Convoy’s second-biggest shareholder, with a 29.91 per cent stake. His father Kwok Ying-shing is chairman of Shenzhen-based developer Kaisa Group.
The younger Kwok raised his stake in Convoy from 9 per cent on July 14 to 29.91 per cent by August 15, paying between 18.84 HK cents and 23.43 HK cents per share, according to exchange filings. The stock fell 7.2 per cent to 16.7 HK cents on December 7 before trading was halted.
Kwok’s investments coincided with the sale by Interactive Entertainment China Cultural Technology Investments, another related company in David Webb’s Enigma Network blog post, which pared its stake from 8.87 per cent on July 19 to 3.36 per cent on August 14. The sales were transacted at between 17.86 HK cents and 21.33 HK cents, according to filings. Kwok is a friend and business associate of Francis Choi, a substantial shareholder of Town Health International Medical Group, which is itself a Convoy shareholder at 4.5 per cent.
*Chen Peixiong is Convoy’s third-largest shareholder, having raised his stake from 5.24 per cent on September 28 to 7.26 per cent on October 3. One of the Convoy writs claimed Chen was a senior management of Kaisa. An April 2013 press statement about Kaisa’s philanthropy on the web site of Puning municipal government in Guangdong said a person by that name was chairman of Kaisa’s Guangdong unit. Kaisa’s spokesman said Chen was never its employee or senior manager.
*Roy Cho Kwai-chee is among the eight directors in Kwok’s list of Convoy directors for expulsion. Known among Hong Kong’s day traders as Dr Cho due to his qualification as a medical doctor, Cho operates a clinic in Sha Tin.
Cho’s flagship company is Town Health, which has been steadily gaining control Convoy since 2013, communicating via emails and diaries to arrange for the appointment of Mark Mak Kwong-yu and Christie Chan Lai-yee as executive directors of Convoy. Cho, 53, is listed as founder and deputy chairman of Town Health.
Mak and Chan were arrested in a joint operation by the ICAC and the SFC.
Cho is the mastermind behind the circular financial arrangements that siphoned off HK$4.04 billion of Convoy’s funds to companies associated with him, according to Convoy’s lawsuit.
Cho, who could not be reached to comment, may have fled Hong Kong, Convoy said.
*Francis Choi Chee-ming is known in Hong Kong as the Toy King, because of his business as a manufacturer of toys for companies including Mattel. Choi is a shareholder of Town Health International, which in turn owns 4.5 per cent of Convoy.
Choi and Cho are both shareholders of an entity called Broad Idea International, with Cho owning 50.1 per cent while Choi owns the remainder, according to Convoy’s writ. Broad Idea owns 18.85 per cent of Town Health where Choi, 71, is listed as deputy chairman. Choi was a minority shareholder of Kaisa until September 21, according to exchange filings.
*Quincy Wong Lee-man is the ex-chairman of Convoy. He was arrested by the ICAC on December 8. An extreme sports enthusiast, Wong likes to run in ultra long marathons, completing the 100-kilometre Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2015. Convoy expanded during his tenure from a small insurance advisory firm into a company with 1,600 employees.
He was sued by Convoy’s new management in two writs that alleged that he and related parties channelled money from Convoy. Wong could not be reached for comment.
*Johnny Chen Chi-wang is Convoy chairman, with the backing of the company’s largest shareholder the Tsai family. He was appointed senior adviser to Convoy on December 11 after the ICAC and SFC commenced investigations of Convoy. Chen has held senior positions at Zurich Insurance Group Asia Pacific, including the role of China chairman. He was also managing partner of accounting firm PwC’s Beijing office.