Judge Could Bar Insider-Trading Lawsuit Against Tiger Asia

Jun 16 2011 | 11:17am ET

Tiger Asia Management appears poised to win a dismissal of a Hong Kong regulator's attempt to ban it from trading.

In a separate case, the special administrative region's High Court ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit brought by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission against Tiger Asia in an insider-trading probe. The final decision on Tiger Asia's dismissal bid is still pending; Judge Jonathan Harris said it may come in the "next few days."

Still, the SFC has all but admitted defeat on that front.

"The Hon. Mr. Justice Harris indicated that in the SFC's proceedings against Tiger Asia Management LLC, he has found that the Court of First Instance does not have jurisdiction," the regulator said in a statement.

Last month, Tiger Asia argued that "it is not appropriate for a civil court to determine what is essentially a criminal case." The SFC had retorted that it would be happy to bring criminal charges, but Tiger Asia and the three men named in the complaint are all in New York.

The SFC has accused Tiger Asia of insider-trading twice in less than a year. It has asked the Hong Kong court to freeze some HK$38.5 (US$5 million) in assets and wants the firm and three executives, including founder Bill Hwang, barred from trading.

According to the SFC, Tiger Asia, on Hwang's orders, made a pair of illegal trades after learning confidential information about two placements of Bank of China shares in late 2008 and early 2009. Those allegations followed 2009 charges that Tiger Asia had illegally traded China Construction Bank Corp. shares.

Harris was ruling on a case involving Hontex International Holdings when he announced his intention to block the SFC lawsuit against Tiger Asia.

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