Former Sino-Forest executives didn’t deceive, lawyer tells OSC hearing

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Markus Koehnen — the lawyer representing Albert Ip, Alfred Hung, George Ho and Simon Yeung — began his closing arguments today in the Ontario Securities Commission case against five former Sino-Forest executives accused of perpetrating fraud before the firm collapsed in 2012.

TORONTO — A lawyer for four former SinoForest executives says his clients did not deceive anyone or avoid responsibility for their actions while they worked for the now-defunct forestry company.

Markus Koehnen — the lawyer representing Albert Ip, Alfred Hung, George Ho and Simon Yeung — began his closing arguments today in the Ontario Securities Commission case against five former Sino-Forest executives accused of perpetrating fraud before the firm collapsed in 2012.

Along with Koehnen’s four clients, former CEO Allen Chan has also been accused of perpetrating fraud. The OSC claims the executives misled investors by issuing false financial statements in every quarter from 2007 to 2010.

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Established in 1994, Sino-Forest was the largest foreign-owned forestry company in China.

Most of the company’s business was conducted in China, but its headquarters were in Ontario and its shares were traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

At its peak, Sino-Forest was the most valuable forestry company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of $6 billion.

From June 2005 to March 2011, the company’s shares rose by 340 per cent from $5.75 per share to $25.30 per share.

The securities watchdog alleges the five men took part in “deceitful conduct” that included the fabrication of assets and revenue, undisclosed relationships with suppliers and customers and providing misleading documentation to support the alleged fraud.

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