Hong Kong's regulator is set to proceed with its insider-trading case against Tiger Asia Management now that the city's highest court has formally entered its ruling against the defunct hedge fund.
The Court of Final Appeal on Friday issued its written opinion, nearly a month after the court first ruled in the Securities and Futures Commission's favor. The regulator can now bring its fraud case against Tiger in Hong Kong's Court of First Instance.
Tiger Asia closed in August and in December pleaded guilty to U.S. insider-trading charges that mirror those brought by the SFC in Hong Kong. Both cases accused Tiger Asia's Bill Hwang of ordering trades based on confidential information about two Chinese banks.
The SFC first brought its case against Tiger Asia in 2009, but the hedge fund argued that the regulator could not sue it or seek to have its principals barred without a tribunal or criminal court filing. But Tiger Asia, which was based in New York, had no physical presence in Hong Kong, making a criminal case difficult to bring.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma ruled that the SFC was permitted to go after Tiger Asia anyway. "In these proceedings, the SFC acts not as a prosecutor in the general public interest but as protector of the collective interest of persons dealing in the market who have been injured by market misconduct. These are civil proceedings and do not attract the protection accorded to criminal defendants."