Recent ICAC Cases

Jul 2024
Financial consultant charged by ICAC in JPY400m investment fraud case pleads guilty

An ICAC corruption investigation into bank officers earlier revealed that four people had conspired with others to deceive Japanese investors into investing over JPY400 million (about HK$28.4 million) in various companies which took part in investment projects in Africa by falsely representing that those companies’ bank accounts held asset totalling over HK$37 billion, and by using false bank documents. A self-employed financial consultant today (July 8) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at the District Court.

Law Man-fai, 50, self-employed financial consultant, pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to the Common Law. Another similar charge against him was left on file at the District Court. Deputy Judge Ms May Chung Ming-sun adjourned the case to July 15 for mention. Law was granted bail.

Two co-defendants, Woo Man-ho, 36; and Chan Tak-ching, 37, both former relationship managers of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (Standard Chartered Bank), earlier pleaded guilty to a total of four counts of conspiracy to defraud. They were granted bail until August 22 for sentence.

The court heard that at the material time, Law was a self-employed financial consultant, while Woo and Chan were relationship managers of Standard Chartered Bank respectively working at its business banking department and priority banking department. The bank would issue documents to confirm the balance of a client’s account held with the bank upon request, but Woo and Chan were not authorised to sign and issue those documents.

Between January 2015 and September 2016, Law, Woo and Chan had conspired with another then relationship manager of Standard Chartered Bank and four foreign nationals to defraud various Japanese investors to invest in ADF Capital Limited (ADF) and a number of companies by using false proof of fund letters and corporate refund promissory notes (CRPNs) signed by Woo and Chan, and purportedly issued by Standard Chartered Bank.

The four foreign nationals involved were two shareholders-cum-directors of ADF, respectively a Zambian man and a Korean man; a Thai man who was Chan’s client; and a Japanese woman who was the chief executive officer of a company.

Law admitted that he had conspired with Woo, Chan and three of the foreign nationals to falsely represent that Standard Chartered Bank was the guarantor of ADF which undertook to pay the relevant investors by issuing eight false CRPNs.

Four of the CRPNs involved promised returns totalling US$7.2 million (over HK$56 million). As a result of the false representations, various Japanese investors were deceived into making investments totalling at least JPY400 million (about HK$28.4 million) to ADF and various companies involved in this case. The remaining four CRPNs involved false representations to a certain company that Standard Chartered Bank was the guarantor of ADF which undertook to pay US$50 million (over HK$390 million) for the CRPNs.

Woo and Chan earlier admitted their involvements in the scam, and their issuance of false proof of fund letters which falsely represented that the Zambian man’s company had funds of US$1.5 billion (about HK$11.6 billion) available for investments in Africa, and that the Thai man had asset of 3.3 billion euros (about HK$25.5 billion) in the bank account held with Standard Chartered Bank.

The ICAC enquiries revealed that Standard Chartered Bank had never held the abovementioned asset on behalf of the Thai man, while the Zambian man’s company had never held any bank account with the bank.

Co-defendant Leung Ho-yin, 38, former relationship manager of Standard Chartered Bank, pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud. Another co-defendant Catherine Kum Kit-ching, 55, manager of ADF, pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder crime proceeds. The duo will appear again at the District Court on July 11 for mention.

Standard Chartered Bank had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Wong Hay-yiu, assisted by ICAC officer Janice Chan.

Back To Top