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Billionaire Lau’s Macau Bribery Trial Delayed Again

Hong Kong Billionaire Lau Charged With Bribery in Macau
Joseph Lau, chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd., at the company's AGM in Hong Kong on May 15, 2007. Photographer: Tse Ka Yin/EyePress News

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau’s bribery and money-laundering trial in Macau was delayed for a second time after his lawyer told the court the chairman of Hong Kong-listed Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. is ill.

Judge Mario Silvestre said he would set a date for the trial to begin after receiving more details of the illness. Silvestre replaced Alice Costa, whose illness delayed the previous scheduled start of the trial in September.

Prosecutors accuse Lau of bribery and money laundering in relation to the acquisition of land in Macau, Chinese Estates said last year. Lau, who controls almost 75 percent of the HK$23.6 billion ($3 billion) developer, has denied allegations that he or his company might have given bribes to Ao Man-long, Macau’s former secretary of transportation and public works, who was sentenced to 29 years in prison in May.

The Macau government had invalidated the land concession for the sites being developed by Chinese Estates into the La Scala, a luxury residential project, the company said in an Aug. 15 filing. The sites were granted to Moon Ocean, a business subsequently acquired by Chinese Estates, while Ao was still in office, according to a separate filing.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at kwong40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net; Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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