January 13, 2017 / 7:46 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Hong Kong court rejects short seller's appeal bid in Evergrande case

2 Min Read

* Tribunal found Left culpable of misconduct over research report

* Left may take Friday's decision to Court of Final Appeal (Adds details of case)

HONG KONG, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's Court of Appeal on Friday rejected activist short seller Andrew Left's bid to appeal a tribunal ruling that found him culpable of market misconduct over a research report involving China Evergrande Group, his lawyer said.

On Nov. 16, Left, founder of U.S.-based short-seller Citron Research, filed an appeal to reverse "findings of law" and a separate application to appeal "findings of fact", both made by Hong Kong's Market Misconduct Tribunal.

The appeal followed an August verdict by the tribunal that said Left engaged in market misconduct by spreading false or misleading information. In October, the tribunal banned Left for five years from the Hong Kong market.

On Friday, the court refused to allow Left to appeal based on the findings of fact, said Timothy Loh, managing partner at Timothy Loh LLP law firm in Hong Kong.

"Mr. Left is currently considering the possibility of appealing this decision to refuse leave to the Court of Final Appeal," Loh said in an emailed statement.

"Mr. Left believes that the decision of the Market Misconduct Tribunal is patently wrong and, unless it is overturned on appeal, will deter the investing public in Hong Kong from engaging in the robust discussion necessary to police listed company disclosures."

The tribunal had found Left culpable of market manipulation in connection with the publication of a research report on Hong Kong-listed Evergrande in 2012 alleging the Chinese property developer was insolvent and had engaged in fraud.

It also ordered him to repay HK$1.6 million ($206,324) of profits made while shorting the stock.

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission said in December 2014 that Left profited after publication of the research report knocked nearly 20 percent off Evergrande's share price.

$1 = 7.7548 Hong Kong dollars Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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