Court sets aside Stanley Thai’s conviction for insider trading

KUALA LUMPUR, 29 Sept 2020:

The high court here today set aside the five-year jail term and RM5 million fine imposed on APL Industries Bhd (APLI) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Stanley Thai for insider trading.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid made the decision after allowing an appeal filed by Stanley Thai, whose real name is Thai Kim Sim, 60, against the conviction and jail sentence as well as the fine.

Apart from Thai, the court also set aside the conviction, five-year jail sentence and RM10 million fine on another appellant, remisier Tiong Kiong Choon, 60, after finding their convictions unsafe.

“After listening to the arguments by both parties, I find myself persuaded by accused submissions, the conviction and sentence, therefore are set aside, fine to be refund to both accused,” Azhar said.

Thai was represented by counsel Shamsul Sulaiman while Tiong was represented by counsel Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden. Securities Commission (SC) deputy public prosecutor Mohd Hafiz Mohd Yusoff appeared for the prosecution.

The two men appealed against the conviction and sentence imposed by the sessions court on 24 Nov 2017, after finding them guilty of their respective charges.

Thai was charged with communicating to Tiong a non-public information on the value of APLI’s shares on Oct 26 and Oct 29 in 2007, while Tiong was charged with disposing of 2,205,500 and 4,003,000 units of the rubber glove manufacturing company shares from the Central Depository System account of two individuals, while in possession of the same non-public information, hence affecting the value of shares.

They were charged under Section 188(3)(a) and 188(2)(a) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of not less than RM1 million.

The high court here also quashed the conviction and sentence of a former director of Multicode Electronics Industries (M) Bhd, who was found guilty of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM26 million nine years ago.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Aslam Zainuddin made the decision on Datuk Abul Hasan Mohamed Rashid, 77, based on the preliminary issue raised by Abul Hasan in his appeal.

The preliminary issue was on the territorial jurisdiction of the sessions courts, whereby his trial should have taken place in Johor Bahru and not the Kuala Lumpur sessions court.

Aslam in his judgment said the law clearly stated the local limits of jurisdiction for the sessions court in Peninsular Malaysia is state-wise, in adherence to the Courts (Subordinate Courts) Order 1955.

“For example, the sessions court in Johor falls under the territorial boundaries of the state of Johor and so on and so forth.”

Aslam said he acknowledges that the prosecution had argued the Kuala Lumpur sessions court should have the same territorial jurisdiction as the high courts.

“However, the argument was flawed as the 1955 order had already spelt out the territorial jurisdiction of the sessions courts in Selangor, which included Kuala Lumpur at that time.”

He further said the court did not go into the merits of Abul Hasan’s appeal but touched only on the preliminary issue on the boundaries.

“I don’t have to go into the merits of the appeal. I, therefore, declare the proceedings in the sessions court below were a nullity and quash the conviction and sentence of the appellant.

“On the issue of whether there should be a retrial or not, I decline to make a ruling on it as this is within the purview of the public prosecutor. I am sure the public prosecutor in his wisdom will decide based on the law and public interest as well as the fact that this case culminated in 2007.”

The SC’s deputy public prosecutor Mohd Hafiz prosecuted while the accused was represented by lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed.

Abul Hasan, 77, was first charged in Kuala Lumpur on 13 March 2009.

According to the charge sheet, he allegedly committed CBT on RM26,045,473.94 of the company’s funds at the Multicode Electronics Industries office in Menara Pelangi, No 2, Jalan Kuning, Taman Pelangi in Johor Bahru between March 23 and March 28 in 2007.

On 22 Sept 2011, the Kuala Lumpur sessions court had sentenced Abul Hasan to six years’ jail for the offence under section 409 of the Penal Code involving over RM26 milion of funds belonging to the company.

The accused then filed an appeal and was granted of execution on the jail term pending appeal.

– Bernama