Tycoon's wife charged of defrauding HK$89 million
Mo Yuk-ping, the wife of disgraced property tycoon Chau Ching-ngai, appeared at Eastern Magistracy yesterday, facing charges of defrauding five banks of HK$89 million worth of Letters of Credit.
No plea was taken. Magistrate Ian Candy adjourned the case until January 13, pending transfer to District Court.
Mo was released on bail of HK$200,000, and was ordered by the court not to leave Hong Kong.
The case arose from a corruption inquiry by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in relation to publicly listed Shanghai Land Holdings Limited. Both Mo and Chau were directors of the company.
Mo was arrested on Wednesday and charged by the ICAC of 23 counts of conspiracy to fraud. She was accused of "conspiring with other persons to defraud five banks by dishonestly causing Hong Kong Nam Hoi Enterprise Limited to apply to five banks for the issue of a total of 23 letters of credit in favour of Win Victory," according to a statement released by the ICAC.
Mo was both director and shareholder of Win Victory.
To support the applications, Mo and her co-conspirators allegedly submitted falsified documents to the banks as proof for genuine underlying commercial transactions between the two companies.
The banks consequently released a total of HK$89 million to Win Victory under the letters of credit,, the statement said.
The alleged offences took place between June 2001 and March 2003.
Events took a sudden turn at the end of May last year when Mo's husband, Chau, once described as the richest man in Shanghai, was detained in the city in connection with problematic loans.
The incident also led to the dismissal of Liu Jinbao, vice-chairman and chief executive of the Bank of China (Hong Kong), and his being recalled to Beijing.
Two months later, on June 1, Mo and more than 20 other former BOC (HK) employees were arrested in Hong Kong by the ICAC for alleged corruption and fraud.
Mo was soon released on bail while Chau's two listed companies on the mainland were suspended trading in the stock market.
On June 9, BOC (HK) announced the creation of an investigating panel to probe into Liu's involvement in the corruption scandal. Chau, on the other hand, was formally arrested by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau on September 5. On May 15 this year, Chau was formally tried in Shanghai for rigging prices in stock transactions and falsely registering company capital. He was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to three years' imprisonment.