Businessman bailed on fraud charges

the businessman who founded the now-defunct Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, appeared in a Hong Kong court yesterday charged with conspiracy to defraud the securities regulator and fraud.

Barry Cheung, 59, was charged with conspiring to conceal the true financial position of the exchange from the Securities and Futures Commission and causing or permitting false information to be supplied to the commission.

He is also charged with intent to defraud a company of HK$30 million (US$3.8 million).

Cheung, who did not enter a plea, was released on bail of HK$50,000 to return to court on August 24.

He founded the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, operator of an electronic platform for trading in gold and silver futures, in 2011.

The commodities exchange closed in May 2013 after it handed back its operating license to regulators. The commission said at the time that it surrendered the license because it felt trading revenues had not been sufficient to support operating expenses.

Cheung is a former board member of AIA Group and had a seat until 2013 on the board of RUSAL Plc, the aluminum company controlled by the Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Both companies are listed in Hong Kong.

Cheung was also a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong.

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