Court of Appeal upholds SFC’s case of insider dealing and fraud against solicitors

9 Nov 2017



The Court of Appeal today upheld the decision of the Court of First Instance (CFI) which had ruled in favour of an insider dealing and fraud case brought by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) against two solicitors – Ms Betty Young Bik Fung and Mr Eric Lee Kwok Wa – and Lee’s two sisters. 

On 15 January 2016, the CFI found Young, Lee and his sister Ms Patsy Lee Siu Ying contravened the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) by insider dealing in the shares of Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Ltd and section 300 of the SFO (section 300) by engaging in fraud or deception in transactions involving the shares of Taiwan-listed Hsinchu International Bank Company Ltd (Hsinchu Bank) (Note 1).

The CFI also made restoration orders against Lee’s other sister, Ms Stella Lee Siu Fan, under section 213 of the SFO in respect of the same transactions. 

In February 2016, all four defendants appealed against the CFI’s decision, but Young withdrew her appeal shortly before the September 2017 hearing in the Court of Appeal. 

The trio argued in their appeal that:

The Court of Appeal disagreed and held that:

The SFC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, Mr Thomas Atkinson, said: “We welcome the Court of Appeal’s judgment clarifying the interpretation of section 300.  The SFC will vigorously pursue enforcement actions to combat violation of the SFO when a substantial measure of activities designed to breach the SFO occur in our jurisdiction even if it involves securities traded on exchanges outside Hong Kong”.

Lawyers for Stella Lee argued that she should not be ordered to restore her counterparties since she was found not to have participated in the insider dealing.  But the Court of Appeal upheld the restoration order against her because (i) there is no assertion that the making of the order will prejudice her beyond removing the profits made; and (ii) her investment decisions were prompted or influenced by the disclosure to her of information that was based on the inside information even though she was unaware of that. 

End

Note:

  1. Please see the SFC’s press release dated 15 January 2016.


Page last updated : 9 Nov 2017