Canto-pop star Julian Cheung tells Hong Kong court how manager allegedly swindled him out of HK$1.5 million over contracts
Singer, who goes by stage name Chilam, says his suspicions over advertising deals with Ogawa, Adidas and P&G first arose in 2014
Boyish actor and Canto-pop singer Julian Cheung Chi-lam on Monday testified against a former manager accused of cheating him out of almost HK$1.5 million (US$192,200) by lying about the real value of advertising deals with international brands.
Cheung, husband of popular actress Anita Yuen Wing-yi, told the District Court he began to have suspicions about manager Leung Nga-sze during a work trip to Malaysia in 2014.
His doubts later grew into allegations of Leung siphoning HK$920,000 from a contract that Cheung signed through her company to work with Ogawa, a Malaysian firm selling massage chairs. Another HK$500,000 involved deals with sportswear giants Reebok and Adidas, and care products manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G).
Cheung, 46, recalled confronting Leung in a meeting.
“She did not admit it verbally, but she admitted it by facial expression,” he said.
Cheung, who goes by the stage name Chilam, said the manager looked “ashamed, confused, and not brave enough to look at others”.
The allegations prompted police and prosecutors to press charges against Leung, 43, who has denied three counts of fraud.
At the time of the alleged offences, Cheung was with management firm Markwin Investment and production house China 3D Digital Entertainment, both chaired by Stephen Shiu Ding-yat, son of veteran screenwriter Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen.
Leung worked for Markwin.
In the Ogawa deal, 88 per cent of the profits would go to Cheung, and the rest to Shiu’s companies. Leung was never part of the deal, the court had heard.
Cheung testified that in January 2014 Leung texted him and said she had “tried her best” to negotiate a deal with Ogawa and HK$3.88 million was as good as it got. Cheung then took up the job as the company’s ambassador.
But in August that year, while in Kuala Lumpur to hold a concert, Cheung found out his contract with Ogawa was actually for HK$4.8 million.
The following month, Cheung and Shiu confronted the manager in a meeting, the one in which the singer said Leung’s face had given her away.
Leung at first denied the allegations, he said. But after he left, she reportedly confessed to Shiu. Leung deposited HK$920,000 into Cheung’s bank account the following day.
Cheung told the court he later found out that in a 2014 deal with Reebok and Adidas, his contract was for HK$200,000 but the client was paying HK$300,000.
A HK$1.6 million contract with P&G was actually worth HK$2 million, said Cheung, who finished his testimony before noon.
The trial continues on Tuesday before judge Timothy Casewell.