Agile Chairman Chen Indecent Assault Charge Withdrawn, RTHK Says

Charges against Chen Zhuo Lin, chairman of Agile Property Holdings Ltd., were withdrawn by the prosecution, Radio Television Hong Kong reported today.

Chen had two indecent assault charges withdrawn, and is bound by a HK$2,000 ($258) good behavior bond for one year, RTHK reported on its website. He was ordered to pay HK$2,000 in court costs and will not have a criminal record, according to the report.

The founder of the Chinese developer in which JPMorgan Chase & Co. owns a stake was formally charged with indecent assault in Hong Kong on Jan. 8.

Chen was first arrested by police in the city in August in connection with an allegation of indecent assault and faced two counts, according to a statement from Agile in January. The developer will release a statement through the Hong Kong Stock Exchange later today, public relations officer Samson Chan said. Kit Hung, an information officer at the Department of Justice, could not immediately comment on the case.

Agile shares have lost 21 percent since Chen was charged, compared with a 3.1 percent decline in the Hang Seng Property Index in the period.

The company, based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, was started by Chen in 1992 with capital from the furniture business he founded almost a decade earlier. The developer’s first project was holiday homes aimed at Hong Kong buyers. It began targeting local Chinese buyers after the city’s economy was damped by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Chen and his wife Luk Sin Fong hold 2.19 billion shares, or 63.58 percent of Agile, worth $3.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Luk is the company’s vice chairman and co-president.

JPMorgan, with 4.83 percent of the company, is the second-biggest shareholder, after Chen’s family, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

— With assistance by Bonnie Cao

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