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Hong Kong Judge Won’t Halt Tiger Asia’s Trading; SFC to Appeal

Hong Kong’s securities regulator failed to obtain a trading ban against New York-based hedge fund Tiger Asia Management LLC based on insider trading allegations.

Judge Jonathan Harris of Hong Kong’s High Court ruled yesterday the court couldn’t make the order to ban Tiger Asia and its employees from trading in securities or derivatives in the city before the Securities and Futures Commission proves its insider trading case in a tribunal or criminal court.

Harris last month refused to freeze HK$38.5 million ($4.9 million) of assets held by Tiger Asia, the hedge-fund firm led by Bill Hwang, or to rule on the SFC’s insider trading allegations, saying the court lacked the power to do so. The SFC, as the regulator is called, argued at a hearing on July 11 that the trading ban should be considered separately.

The regulator will appeal both decisions, it said in a statement yesterday. The SFC said on June 21 that starting civil proceedings before the market misconduct tribunal would immunize Tiger Asia and its officers from criminal prosecution.

Tiger Asia, which has specialized in trading equities in China, Japan and South Korea since its inception, doesn’t have an office in Hong Kong, and all of its employees are based in New York, according to the regulator. Tiger Asia isn’t licensed by the SFC.

Tiger Asia disclosed in October it had also received a subpoena from the U.S. regulator.

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