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Hong Kong businessman Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for fraud by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Media mogul Jimmy Lai, founder of Apple Daily, leaves the Court of Final Appeal by prison van in Hong Kong, China on February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siew

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Written by Jesse Pang and James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong businessman Jimmy Lai was sentenced on Saturday to five years and nine months in prison for fraud, and was found guilty of violating a lease on the premises of a liberal newspaper he ran.

Lai, 75, was found guilty of two counts of fraud for covering up the operations of a private company, Dico Consultants Ltd, at the headquarters of the closed daily Apple (NASDAQ::) newspaper, in what was ruled a breach of its land. rent.

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Lai, Hong Kong’s most vocal critic of China, has been behind bars since December 2020 and spent 20 months at unauthorized gatherings.

He was the president of Next Digital, the parent company of Apple Daily which closed in June 2021 after a police raid.

Another Next Digital executive, Wong Wai-keung, 61, was found guilty of fraud and jailed for 21 months.

District Court Judge Stanley Chan wrote in his ruling that Lai “acted under the protective umbrella of a media organisation”. Chan said the trial of a media entrepreneur “was not equated with an attack on freedom of the press.”

The judge cut three months off his sentence because Lay confessed to much of the prosecution’s case.

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Western governments, including the United States, have expressed concern about Lai’s plight and condemned what they described as a broader deterioration in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms under China’s imposed national security law.

“Beijing’s detailed criminal case against Jimmy Lai is a vendetta against a prominent supporter of democracy and media freedom in Hong Kong,” said Maya Wang, Asia director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which called for Lai’s release.

Prosecutors said that under the terms of the newspaper’s lease of a plot of government land in a science park, the property could only be used for “publication and printing” without prior approval from the operator.

Chan issued an order banning Lai from becoming a director of any company for eight years and fined him 2 million Hong Kong dollars ($260,000).

Lai’s lawyer, Derek Chan, urged the judge to consider Lai’s age and contributions to Hong Kong’s media industry.

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A separate and important national security trial involving Lai is scheduled to resume on Tuesday. It has been delayed as Beijing decides on the contentious issue of whether foreign lawyers, including Lai’s British lawyer Timothy Owen, should be allowed to work on national security cases.

($1 = 7.7854 Hong Kong dollars)

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MicroStrategy is at its lowest level since 2020 after the sales were revealed

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(Bloomberg) — Shares of MicroStrategy touched their lowest level since August 2020 after the enterprise software company, which in recent years has been known as the largest buyer of bitcoin, revealed its first sale of the token.

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The stock fell 1.1 percent to $136.63 on Thursday, down 75 percent this year. Bitcoin rose less than 1% to around $16,590 and is believed to have fallen 64% since the start of the year.

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In a filing on Wednesday, MicroStrategy said it acquired approximately 2,395 Bitcoin between the beginning of November and December 21 through its subsidiary MacroStrategy, and paid out approximately $42.8 million in cash. It then sold 704 of the tokens on Dec. 22 for a total of about $11.8 million, citing tax purposes, before buying another 810 of them two days later.

Matt Malley, chief market strategist for Miller Tabak + Co. Step down as CEO. This news means they don’t seem to want to do that anytime soon.”

Overall, MicroStrategy held about 132,500 bitcoins worth over $4 billion USD as of December 27th. The company paid an average purchase price of $30,397 per bitcoin.

“Given MicroStrategy’s $2.4 billion in leverage, we believe the company may have a lot of leverage over Bitcoin, and may face some liquidity risk,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thiel wrote in a note on Wednesday. Thill has an “underperform” rating on the stock and a price target of $110.

Over the years of the pandemic, MicroStrategy has become well known for its Bitcoin takeovers, largely led by Saylor. Earlier this year, Saylor stepped down from that role and now serves as CEO at the company and continues to lead its bitcoin strategy.

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MicroStrategy was trading around $120 before Saylor first announced the company’s Bitcoin purchases in 2020. The stock reached an all-time high of $1,315 in February 2021.

(Updates to include the stock’s closing price in the second paragraph.)

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Bankman-Fried May File Petition in New York Federal Court Next Week Before Judge Louis Kaplan By Cointelegraph

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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is set to appear in court on the afternoon of January 3 to enter a lawsuit over two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to Reuters. mentioned on December 28, citing court records. Bankman-Fried will appear before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

Judge Kaplan was appointed to hear the case on December 27 after the original judge in the case, Ronnie Abrams, Resigned herself because of connections between FTX and the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her husband is a partner. The company provided advisory services to FTX in 2021.