Barry Cheung, former adviser to Hong Kong ex-leader Leung Chun Ying, faces fraud charges

Former executive councillor Barry Cheung (centre) leaving the Eastern Court after being released on bail on Aug 10, 2017.
Former executive councillor Barry Cheung (centre) leaving the Eastern Court after being released on bail on Aug 10, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Prominent businessman Barry Cheung, who founded the now-defunct Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, appeared in a Hong Kong court on Thursday (Aug 10) charged with conspiracy to defraud the securities regulator and fraud.

Cheung, 59, 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 (S$5 million).

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

Cheung served under former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying's government. He was a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and chaired the 2012 election campaign for Mr Leung, whose term ended in July.

Cheung founded the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange in 2011, 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 licence to regulators. The SFC said at the time that the Hong Kong-based operator surrendered the licence 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, the aluminium company controlled by the Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Both of those companies are listed in Hong Kong.