The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused the former chairman and chief executive officer of ChinaCast Education Corp. (CAST) of stealing tens of millions of dollars from investors in a U.S. public offering.
Chan Tze Ngon, 57, transferred $41 million out of the $43.8 million raised from investors to a purported subsidiary in which he secretly held a controlling 50 percent stake, the SEC said in a statement today. Chan also secretly pledged $30.4 million of ChinaCast’s cash deposits to secure the debts of entities unrelated to the company, according to the agency.
The SEC also sued Jiang Xiangyuan, ChinaCast’s former president for operations in China, over claims he avoided more than $200,000 in losses by illegally selling shares in the company on confidential information. The agency is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and financial penalties, according to the statement.
“The massive fraud perpetrated by Chan destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars in market value, and Jiang’s brazen insider trading allowed him to profit by dumping his own shares on the market before the fraud was exposed,” Andrew Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York office, said in a statement.
ChinaCast entered U.S. capital markets in 2006 through a reverse merger, in which a closely held firm buys a shell company already on an exchange in order to list shares without a public offering, the SEC said. Reverse mergers, particularly those involving China-based firms, have been under increased regulatory scrutiny for about two years.
Chan, who lives in China, has no known defense counsel, the SEC said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at email@example.com