Three former chairmen of Hong Kong-listed companies are among the top 10 most wanted people on a new list of suspected fraudsters published by the city’s financial watchdog.
For the first time in its 30-year history, the Securities and Futures Commission is directly asking for the public’s help in tracking down fugitives wanted in connection with financial crimes. The regulator is also urging people to come forward if they suspect fraud, insider dealing, false trading or any other type of market misconduct.
All they have to do is fill in a form online via a new page on the SFC’s website, headed “Reporting corporate fraud and market misconduct”.
The watchdog announced the new anonymous reporting channel in a statement on Thursday.
The 10 “key suspects” on the wanted list include three missing chairmen, two former executive directors, three people accused of insider-trading, a market manipulator and a fund manager.
They appear in a new section of the website called “Have you seen these people?” where the SFC urges the public to come forward with any information on their whereabouts.
The three former chairmen include Ding Hui, co-founder of mainland fashion retailer Fujian Nuoqi. Fujian Nuoqi reported to Hong Kong police that Ding was missing in July 2014, seven months after its listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. A week later, the firm announced Ding had made unauthorised transfers of 232.05 million yuan (HK$292 million) from its coffers.
“We wish to speak to Ding in connection with serious matters involving alleged corporate fraud at Fujian Nuoqi,” the SFC said on the web page.
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The other ex-chairmen who have gone AWOL are Yang Zongwang of the China Packaging Group Company, and Wong Kam-leong of Long Success International.
Yang and two former executive directors at the company, Xue De Fa and Xie Xi, disappeared in 2010 after refusing to meet with the SFC in mainland China. The regulator said it wished to speak to the trio about alleged corporate fraud carried out between 2003 and 2009.
Wong Kam-leong is though to have left Hong Kong in April 2013.
Gary Allen Ferraro, president and chief executive of the Guardian Trust Company Group based on the Caribbean island of Nevis, and a director of its Asian arm, Guardian Trust Company (Asia), also appears on the list.
“We wish to contact Ferraro in connection with suspected unlicensed activities in Hong Kong,” the SFC said.
The other four fugitives have arrest warrants against them for failed to attend their court hearings. Three are facing separate insider dealing charges and one is accused of market manipulation.
“Credible, timely and actionable intelligence from the public can help stop corporate fraud and market misconduct in its tracks,” said Thomas Atkinson, the executive director of enforcement at the SFC in the statement.
“If you have information of interest to the SFC, we encourage you to report it.”
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Atkinson said last week that the commission plans to sue 60 individuals and companies next year, marking the largest scale legal action in the regulator’s history as it strives to clean up Asia’s third largest stock market.
“Reports may be made anonymously. However, members of the public who provide information are encouraged to provide contact information so the SFC may follow up,” the statement said.
Jeffrey Chan Lap-tak, founding partner of Oriental Patron Financial Group, welcomed the SFC’s new move.
“The new online whistle-blower channel would make it easier for the public to report any alleged fraud or malpractice and to locate those missing suspects. It would help the SFC to carry out enforcement and to clean up malpractice of the market,” said Chan.
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