Estate of late Sir David Tang sued again for return of HK$37.8m by 2 other companies in London for breach of fiduciary duties as director

Sir David Tang

1st December 2022 – (Hong Kong) Sir David Tang, the late founder of the clothing brand “Shanghai Tang” and “China Club”, passed away in 2017. A company in which he was a director of before his death filed a civil lawsuit in the High Court on 18th November, alleging that Tang improperly transferred more than 100 million Hong Kong dollars of company funds to his own or related companies in different ways, which violated his fiduciary duty as a company director. The company now seeks an order from the court to confirm that the relevant funds were held by Tang as trustee on behalf of the company, and to request his estate to return the relevant funds.

His estate was sued again in the High Court by two other companies of which he was a former director, and he was also accused of violating his fiduciary duties as a director of the companies and improperly transferring the total value of more than 37.8 million Hong Kong dollars in assets. The 2 companies now request the court to issue an order to confirm that the relevant funds are held by Tang as trustee on behalf of the 2 companies, and to request his estate to return the relevant funds.

The first plaintiff is the company that operates the Chinese restaurant “China Tang at the Dorchester” in a hotel in London. The defendant is Gordon David Michael George Oldham, the estate administrator of Sir David Tang.

The 2 plaintiffs filed three charges in the complaint alleging that Tang violated his fiduciary duties as a director. First of all, the plaintiff alleges that from 2005 to 2017, Tang transferred a total of more than 3.1 million pounds (equivalent to more than 29 million Hong Kong dollars) from the bank account of the first plaintiff to the account of the company controlled by Tang several times. The first plaintiff also claimed that Tang took away the paintings belonging to the second plaintiff and painted by Liu Wei and sold them for HK$3.08 million in 2015. The plaintiffs believed that HK$2.5 million should be the plaintiffs’ assets. The plaintiff also alleges that Tang spent more than HK$6.33 million by transferring funds from the bank accounts of the two plaintiffs in different ways from January to August 2017. The plaintiffs now requests the court to issue a statement confirming that the above-mentioned 3 assets belong to the plaintiffs, and Tang only held them on behalf of the plaintiffs as a trustee. The defendant must return these assets or corresponding funds to the plaintiffs or make corresponding compensation to the plaintiffs.