Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Walter Kwok suffers legal setback


The chief executive of one of Hong Kong's major developers yesterday suffered a legal setback in his feud with his two younger brothers over control of the company.

High Court Justice Susan Kwan yesterday refused to grant a temporary injunction to Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (新鴻基地產) chairman and chief executive Walter Kwok (郭炳湘) to stop the company’s board from meeting to oust him.

The company’s lawyers joined Kwok’s younger brothers in opposing the request.

Justice Kwan called Kwok’s request “problematic” and said it was not her place to intervene.

“The court must leave the board to decide on an issue of internal matters,” Kwan said.

She also refused to grant an injunction pending an appeal by Walter Kwok.

Attorneys in the case had no comment.

Kwok and his two younger brothers, Raymond Kwok (郭炳聯) and Thomas Kwok (郭炳江) — both vice chairmen at Sun Hung Kai — did not attend the hearing.

In his lawsuit, Walter Kwok accused his brothers of plotting to oust him by portraying him as mentally ill.

The 56-year-old Walter Kwok said he raised concerns about the terms of the lease of a major new skyscraper in Hong Kong, the International Commerce Center, and questioned the company’s apparent favoring of certain contractors and the high price of a piece of land the company had bought.

He said he also proposed hiring an accounting firm to review management practices in the company — something his younger brothers opposed.

In response, Walter Kwok claimed his brothers arranged for a Stanford University doctor to visit Hong Kong and fed him misinformation that led him to diagnose Walter Kwok with bipolar affective disorder. Walter Kwok’s brothers then pushed for his dismissal, he said.

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