Standard Chartered Hong Kong has denied any involvement in a purchase transaction involving Next Magazine. On Monday, HKFP reported that a HK$120 million payment to Hong Kong media giant Next Digital from the buyer of its Chinese-language Next Magazine had been held by the bank for an unknown reason.

File photo: In-Media.

In July last year, businessman Kenny Wee sold off his free newspaper Metro Daily in anticipation of the Next Magazine acquisition. The purchase, however, was delayed several times. A notice Next Digital issued to shareholders on Monday said Wee informed the company that “due to certain remittance issues,” the funds could not be remitted into the firm’s designated bank account.

HKFP quoted Next Digital executive Mark Simon naming Standard Chartered as an intermediary bank for the transfer from the US. A complaint had been lodged by Next Digital with the Monetary Authority over the delay. Standard Chartered Hong Kong told HKFP that it was investigating but could not comment on individual transactions.

Following the publication of the story, Simon and Standard Chartered Hong Kong have denied to HKFP that the bank was involved in the transaction.

“Based on the information available to the bank, Standard Chartered Hong Kong has not been involved in the processing of any alleged remittance relating to the acquisition transaction between Kenny Wee and Next Digital,” a spokesperson said.

Standard Chartered USA referred HKFP to Standard Chartered Hong Kong’s statement, saying it had “nothing further to add.”

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.