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Tiger Asia Accused of Insider Trading in Hong Kong Case

Tiger Asia Founder Bill Hwang
Tiger Asia Management LLC founder Bill Hwang said in August that the fund would return all outside capital to investors. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

Tiger Asia Management LLC, which admitted in the U.S. to illegally using inside information to trade Chinese bank stocks, was accused of the same offense in a Hong Kong tribunal.

The New York-based hedge fund firm, its founder Bill Hwang and its officers Raymond Park and William Tomita traded on advance information from bankers arranging placements of China Construction Bank Corp. and Bank of China Ltd. shares in 2008 and 2009, according to a notice by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.

The SFC first sued Tiger Asia in 2009. The case was delayed by a legal challenge to its power, which the regulator won in April. The Market Misconduct Tribunal that will hear the new case can force the firm to disgorge profits made or losses avoided, and can also ban individuals from dealing in securities. The SFC didn’t provide details of what penalties it is seeking.

The regulator alleges Tiger Asia made HK$9.1 million ($1.2 million) ahead of a Dec. 31, 2008 placement of Bank of China shares and HK$32.1 million dollars before a Jan. 7, 2009 placement of China Construction Bank stock. In both cases, the firm short-sold shares in the companies after UBS AG employees alerted them to the placements.

The hedge fund allegedly used the same tactic ahead of a Jan. 13, 2009 placement of Bank of China shares, which it learned of from Morgan Stanley. It lost HK$10.3 million after the stock unexpectedly rose the day after the placement.

Hwang didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Tiger Asia, which has no employees or physical presence in Hong Kong, agreed to U.S. civil and criminal settlements of more than $60 million for the same offenses in December. Hwang said in August that the fund would return all outside capital to investors.

Tiger Asia was funded by billionaire Julian Robertson and started in 2001. Robertson started a new Asia-focused fund in November, Tiger Pacific Capital LP, headed by former Tiger Asia employees, Run Ye, Junji Takegami and Hoyon Hwang.

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