SFC Starts Proceedings Against China Forestry's Former Execs Over 2009 IPO

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has begun proceedings against the former chairman and CEO of China Forestry for suspected false disclosure of information in the timber company’s IPO prospectus and its 2009 results announcement.

The SFC’s latest move comes as it is widening its probe into cases of alleged market manipulation and corporate fraud that risk tarnishing the former British colony’s reputation as a global financial centre.

In a statement, SFC said that China Forestry allegedly maintained a set of accounting records that was different from the records provided to its then auditors KPMG.

The scope of the allegedly false or misleading information as disclosed by China Forestry was “extensive”, SFC added.

The regulator said China Forestry’s turnover appeared to have been overstated by at least 92 percent while its plantation assets, purportedly accounting for over 79 percent of its net assets, appeared to have been overstated by at least 87 percent.

The proceedings against China Forestry’s former chairman, Li Kwok Cheong, and its former CEO, Li Han Chun, started in Hong Kong’s market misconduct tribunal, an independent three-member body, including a presiding judge or former judge.

Last year, the SFC began and later dropped a lawsuit against Standard Chartered Plc and UBS Group AG over their roles in China Forestry’s IPO.

The company is now in liquidation and has been delisted from the Hong Kong exchange.

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