Wed, Feb 04, 2009 - Page 11 News List

PCCW to probe alleged improper share sale plan

AFP , HONG KONG

Hong Kong telecoms giant PCCW (電訊盈科) said yesterday it was looking into allegations of an attempt to influence a controversial buyout plan, but said it had no knowledge of any improper share transfers.

The firm said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange a shareholder meeting would proceed as scheduled today, when a vote will be cast on the buyout bid by chairman Richard Li (李澤楷) and his Chinese state-owned partner China Netcom (中國網通).

The firm resumed trading of its shares yesterday afternoon after it was suspended on Monday.

TIP-OFF

The suspension came after Hong Kong shareholder activist David Webb said he received an anonymous tip-off claiming hundreds of Fortis Insurance sales agents were each offered one lot, or 1,000 shares, in PCCW in return for voting in favor of the buyout bid.

“PCCW is making inquiries into this matter but can confirm that it has no knowledge of any improper share transfers made by any shareholders as alleged in the press reports,” the statement said.

PROBE

PCCW said it would examine the company’s share register between December and last month, but such a process would take some time.

Webb, a former non-executive director of Hong Kong’s stock exchange, said he had informed financial regulators of the alleged plan, but said he had no evidence anyone connected to PCCW was involved in the scheme.

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