Hong Kong’s financial regulator has fined a fund controlled by Democratic mega-donor George Soros, SFM HK Management, nearly $200,000 for a failure to comply with the short selling trade rules.
The Hungarian-born billionaire has long been associated in the Chinese autonomous region with excessive business activity of selling and purchasing securities at a lower price to make a profit in light of a common belief that a security will go down in price.
Soros is also widely implicated in so-called naked shorting, an illegal practice of short trading that presupposes selling shares that may not even exist, or at least haven’t been with certainty determined to be in an investor’s possession.
In the Soros fund case, the fines followed after the illegal naked shorting of a locally listed Hong Kong firm.
Previously, in 2015, the billionaire’s fund was found involved in the shorting of the Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors Company, according to Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), whose 808,000 shares Soros’ fund had bought before the company announced their issuance. Entitled to 1.6 million bonus shares, the fund tried to allot them into the trading system as is, and even placed an illegal order to sell the whole bulk of them.
“The SFC considers that SFM not only failed to act with due skill, care and diligence in dealing in the bonus shares, but also failed to diligently supervise its staff members and implement adequate and effective systems and controls to ensure compliance with the short selling requirements”, the office said in a statement on Thursday.
George Soros’ enormous riches are still blamed in some countries for contributing to the Asian financial crisis of 1997, namely a currency crunch in China. Chinese state media stepped up a salvo of biting remarks against Soros and other currency traders as the yuan suffered a number of setbacks, with the investor accused of “declaring war” on the renminbi.