Justice Anthony Rogers ordered Pacific Century Regional Developments, Li’s Singapore-listed holding company, to pay the legal costs of Hong Kong’s market regulator and two minority shareholders represented in the proceedings.
The three judges involved in the ruling are the same group that earlier blocked the privatization. Commenting on the rationale for the decision Judge Rogers denied that the decisions were related to the merits of the terms of the takeover and said: “My decision was carefully based simply on the share manipulations” a direct reference to the vote rigging plot which entailed free PCCW shares being parcelled out to more than 800 people in an attempt to bolster support for the deal. The HK Securities and Futures Commission said that these included several hundred agents at a formerly Li-owned insurer who were given PCCW shares by a manager.
Li, son of one of Asia’s richest men, billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing can make one last appeal to the city’s highest court, the Court of Final Appeal, however Li’s lawyer, Jonathan Harris, said: “We’ll read the judgment and then the company will decide what to do next.”
Speaking on behalf of the SFC, Winston Poon, the Commission’s lawyer, said: “If the court grants them leave to appeal, it will be sanctioning the misfeasance of the directors. An appeal doesn’t serve the interests of PCCW’s shareholders.”
See Manifest-I’s previous coverage here: http://blog.manifest.co.uk/?p=462