Hong Kong Regulator Sues StanChart, UBS, KPMG, Others Over China Forestry IPO

Hong Kong's securities regulator has filed a suit against Standard Chartered Plc, UBS Group AG and four other parties over the 2009 IPO of timber company China Forestry Holdings Co Ltd , according to court documents.

The Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") is seeking unspecified damages for "market misconduct" over the IPO prospectus of China Forestry filed in November 2009, as well as the company's 2009 annual report, its 2009 annual results and the results for the first six months of 2010, according to the documents filed with Hong Kong's High Court on 16 January.

The SFC also sued China Forestry itself, the company's two co-founders Li Kwok Cheong and Li Han Chun, and KPMG, which was China Forestry's auditor, the court documents show.

UBS and KPMG declined to comment, while Standard Chartered didn't immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment on SFC's suit. China Forestry and its two co-founders couldn't be reached for comment.

SFC declined to comment.

The parties have 14 days to respond to SFC's suit.

Standard Chartered and UBS separately disclosed late last year that the SFC was probing their role as sponsors of unnamed IPOs and that the regulator's actions could result in financial consequences. 

China Forestry raised $216 million in the 2009 IPO, but its shares have been suspended since January 2011 and the company is now in liquidation and in the process of getting delisted after the company's auditor said it had found possible accounting irregularities.


Elzio Barreto is a Reuters correspondent in Hong Kong.