Press Release



Hearing on legal costs of "Chinese Estates" Inquiry concluded


The Insider Dealing Tribunal chaired by Mr Justice Hartmann has concluded the hearing on legal costs of the Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd (CEHL) inquiry ("the Inquiry").

The Inquiry was on certain dealings in CEHL shares and two warrants with CEHL as underlying stocks. It was alleged that possible insider dealings by Mr Johnson Lam and Mr Joseph Lau might have taken place during the sale of Entertainment Building between late October and November 1996. The Tribunal's Inquiry concluded on 7 May 1999 and found by a unanimous decision that Mr Johnson Lam was not an insider dealer. It also made a majority conclusion that Mr Joseph Lau had not conducted insider dealing.

The Tribunal held a hearing on the legal costs of the Inquiry upon applications by Messrs Lau and Lam. In the case of Mr Lau, the Tribunal is satisfied that positive reasons exist to find that he, to a material degree, by his acts and/or omissions, brought suspicion upon himself and/or misled the investigating authorities to believe the case to reveal him to be an insider dealer was stronger than it proved in the final analysis. Therefore, the Tribunal is deprived of any decision to award him his costs or part thereof. There is no order for costs in Mr Joseph Lau's favour.

As regards Mr Lam, the Tribunal found no reason in the exercise of its discretion why all his costs reasonably incurred in relation to the inquiry should not be awarded. The Tribunal therefore awarded his costs (to include senior counsel assisted by a junior) to be taxed if not agreed.

End/Tuesday, June 29, 1999