Former HK commodities exchange chief charged with conspiracy to defraud regulator: court


HONG KONG (Reuters) – Prominent businessman Barry Cheung, who founded the now-defunct Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, appeared in a Hong Kong court on Thursday charged with conspiracy to defraud the securities regulator and fraud.

Cheung, 59, who served under former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying’s government, was charged with conspiring to conceal the true financial position of the exchange from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and causing or permitting false information to be supplied to the commission.

He is also charged with intent to defraud a company out of HK$30 million ($3.8 million).

Cheung, who did not enter a plea, was released on bail of HK$50,000 to return to court on August 24.

Cheung, 59, in 2011 founded the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, operator of an electronic platform for trading in gold and silver futures.

The commodities exchange closed in May 2013 after it handed back its operating license to regulators. The SFC said at the time that the Hong Kong-based operator surrendered the license because it felt trading revenues had not been sufficient to support operating expenses.

In the corporate world, Cheung is a former board member of AIA Group and had a seat until 2013 on the board of RUSAL Plc, the aluminum company controlled by the Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Both of those companies are listed in Hong Kong.

He was also a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and chaired the 2012 election campaign for former leader Leung, whose term ended in July.

Reporting by Bobby Yip and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Michael Perry

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