Yang Zhihui (pictured), the chairman of Hong Kong-listed casino developer Landing International Development Ltd, says he will “take all necessary and appropriate actions to protect his interests” after the group disclosed that just over half the shares in an offshore firm that is its ultimate owner had been claimed by two people acting as receivers.
The holding relates to 50.48 percent – or 1,481,567,297 ordinary shares – in Landing International Ltd.
According to Landing International Development’s 2018 annual report, filed with the Hong Kong bourse on April 29, Landing International Ltd is a British Virgin Islands vehicle. It is the “ultimate holding company” of Landing International Development, and Mr Yang is the offshore entity’s sole shareholder.
Landing International Development created a resort with foreigner-only casino, called Jeju Shinhwa World, on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The gaming portion of the facility – Landing Casino – opened in February 2018.
According to a separate document lodged on Monday with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, the relevant Landing International Ltd shares have been claimed by Glen Ho Kwok Leung and Lai Kar Yan acting in the capacity of receivers.
According to a separate and unrelated filing to the Hong Kong bourse, as of June 25 this year, Messrs Ho and Lai were working on behalf of financial services firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC
Tuesday’s filing by Landing International Development stated: “Mr. Yang – who is the sole shareholder of Landing International Ltd, as well as the chairman and executive director – has informed [Landing International Development] that he was not aware of the alleged appointment, and he will further look into the situation and take all necessary and appropriate actions to protect his interests over the relevant shares.”
The filing added: “Mr Yang has also confirmed that there is no change in the ownership of Landing International Ltd as well as Landing International Ltd’s shareholding in [Landing International Development] as at the date of this announcement.”
The listed entity added in the filing: “To the best knowledge of the board, the board currently does not expect the alleged appointment would have any material adverse impact on the daily business operations and financial positions of the group.”
Landing International Development added: “The company will make further announcement as and when required under the listing rules in case of any updated information on this matter.”
In late August last year, Landing International Development revealed in a filing it had lost contact with Mr Yang.
An image circulating online the same day, showed a person resembling Mr Yang airside on an airport’s tarmac, being escorted in handcuffs by two men.
It was not until late November that year that the group reported Mr Yang was back at work.
The latter filing said Mr Yang had explained to the board that he had been “assisting a relevant department of the People’s Republic of China with an investigation during the period of his absence”.
On August 30 this year, Landing International Development reported a net loss of nearly HKD835.6 million (US$106.7 million) for the first six months of 2019, as gaming revenue for the period declined sharply.
In mid-September Landing International Development said it had been given approximately six months to find an alternative site for a casino resort it planned for the Philippine capital Manila, or would risk having its provisional gaming licence for that country revoked or suspended.
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