A Hong Kong court extended an order freezing US$214 million in assets owned by one of China’s richest men yesterday amid an ongoing corruption probe in China.
The assets owned by Wong Kwong-yu (黃光裕) and his wife have been frozen since early last month after an application by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.
Wong, also known as Huang Guangyu, is founder and ex-chairman of China’s leading home appliance chain, Gome Electrical Appliances. He is being investigated by Chinese authorities in connection with a corruption probe that has already ensnared Chinese government officials. He is accused of stock price manipulation and other crimes.
His wife Du Juan (杜鵑), also under investigation, is reportedly being detained in China.
The court order in Hong Kong serves to prevent Wong, Du and the two companies through which Wong holds his stake in Gome from removing and dealing with the assets while Securities and Futures Commission is investigating a share repurchase allegedly planned by Wong.
The regulator alleged that Wong had used the proceeds of the buyback of Gome shares worth HK$2.2 billion (US$284 million) between January and February last year to repay a personal loan of HK$2.4 billion to a financial institution.
The dealings caused Gome and its shareholders losses amounting to HK$1.6 billion, the commission has said.
The commission is also seeking a ruling that the couple pay unspecified damages to Gome and restore the financial positions of any parties involved.
The order will remain in force until Wong’s trial for organized securities fraud, Judge Susan Kwan (關淑馨)said yesterday. A trial date hasn’t been set yet as the commission is still investigating.
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