Billionaire Lau’s Bribery Trial Delayed as Judge Ill

Macau Former Sec. for Transport and Public Works Ao Man-long
Ao Man-long, Macau former secretary for transport and public works. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau’s bribery and money-laundering trial in Macau was delayed until January with the presiding judge having fallen ill.

Lau and seven other men were scheduled to go on trial today in relation to a 2006 land purchase by his listed developer Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. Lau has denied allegations he or his company may have bribed Macau’s former secretary of transportation and public works Ao Man-long to secure the land purchase.

The adjournment was announced today by a court official who declined to identify himself. He didn’t give any details of the illness affecting Judge Alice Costa.

Macau, the only part of China where casinos are legal, last month canceled the sale of the 5,204-square-meter (56,000 square feet) land to Chinese Estates after Lau was charged. Ao was sentenced to 29 years in prison for corruption in May.

Chinese Estates said Sept. 14 the company and a buyer of an apartment at La Scala, the residential project being built on the site, filed an appeal of the Macau government’s decision to declare the land concession invalid.

Shares of Chinese Estates are down 23 percent this year, compared with the 12 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. Lau controls almost 75 percent of the developer.

The case is CR1-12-0131-PCC in Macau’s Court of First Instance.

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