Roy Cho, alleged Enigma Network mastermind of Hong Kong’s biggest fraud case, claims trial as he pleads innocence

Martin Choi

Roy Cho Kwai-chee, the alleged mastermind in the fraud involving Hong Kong’s largest independent financial advisory firm Convoy Global Holdings, pleaded not guilty along with two associates at a court hearing on Thursday.

The trial will take place on May 4 next year. No further details were disclosed and the trio continue to be released on bail.

If convicted, the District Court can impose jail sentences of up to seven years on each of them.

Cho, 55, a former executive director at Convoy, was charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in May. The same charges were levied against his associates, Christie Chan Lai-yee, 46, a former chief financial officer at Convoy, and Byron Tan Ye-kai, 51, a former executive director at the company.

Convoy Global Holdings is Hong Kong’s largest independent financial advisory firm. Photo: Bloomberg

Cho conspired to defraud Convoy and its affiliates, leading the company to invest more than HK$89 million (US$11.3 million) on the acquisition of True Surplus International, an investment firm, in September 2016, according to a court document presented by the prosecuting lawyer before Judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung.

With the help of his associates, Cho was able to hide the fact that he was a substantial shareholder in Convoy at the time. He was also able to hide the fact that he had a 55 per cent shareholding in True Surplus. The stock exchange was also not aware of the fact that Cho received HK$57 million from the deal, according to the ICAC.

The charge is the culmination of a joint investigation between the Securities and Futures Commission and ICAC since December 2017.

Convoy has more than 100,000 customers.

Trading in Convoy’s shares has been halted, and its management has changed after the investigation by the ICAC and Securities and Futures Commission went public in December 2017. The company had filed a number of civil writs against Cho and others, including a suit seeking HK$715 million in compensation.

Christie Chan has also been charged separately by the commission with another conspiracy to defraud the stock exchange and Convoy between June 2014 and December 2017, in relation to a bond offering by the company.

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