The Audit Committee Chairman of high-speed steel maker Tiangong (0826), claims a hat-trick of bogus degrees, including one which listing sponsor BNP Paribas should have spotted in due diligence.

Tiangong INED's bogus degrees
14 September 2009

Following on from today's story on the new Neo-Neon CEO's bogus degree, we look at the degrees of one Mr Lau Siu Fai (Mr Lau), who has been an INED of high-speed steel maker Tiangong International Co Ltd (0826) since its listing in 2007. Not only that, but he is Chairman of its Audit Committee and the only one of the 3 INEDs with any purported accounting or financial expertise, as required by Listing Rule 3.10(2). The IPO prospectus dated 13-Jul-07 states that Mr Lau:

"graduated from the Sussex College of Technology with a Master of Arts degree in Accounting".

As we pointed out in our article Choi's Choice of Degrees (21-Nov-07), Sussex College of Technology Limited was a diploma mill based in Tower Hamlets, London and not a UK-recognised degree-awarding body. The information we found was publicly available and IPO Sponsor BNP Paribas Capital (Asia Pacific) Ltd should have spotted this during due diligence work on the prospectus.

Since the IPO, Mr Lau's academic accomplishments have reached new heights. His biography in the 2007 annual report states that:

"He graduated from the Parkhurst University, UK with a PhD in Finance, the Clayton University, USA with a Master's Degree in Business Administration and the Sussex College of Technology with a Master of Arts degree in Accounting."

He's gone for the hat-trick of bogus degrees. Parkhurst University was one of the many bogus UK university names used in the fraudulent University Degree Program run from call centres in Israel and Romania. There is, however, a famous Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, where we would like to put directors who claim bogus doctorates.

Clayton University is or was also an unaccredited diploma mill. The internet archive shows its now-vanished web site at between 2000 and 2007 and others at and The contact page in 2002 shows that it had an agent in Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. The site claimed in 2007 that "our programs are approved by recognized professional institutes...Currently, the Institute of Cost and Executive Accountants...have approved us."

We searched, but all we could find on the institute was this sparse-looking sub-domain site, with no contact details. The ICAEW web site (which does not endorse it) says the institute was once called the "Association of Cost and Executive Accountants". It is apparently defunct, and there is a tribute web site which is peppered with Google-ads. Mr Lau claims to be an associate of the "Association of Cost and Executive Accountants". There is also a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Hong Kong called "Association of Cost and Executive Accountants in Hong Kong Limited" which is in the process of being struck off by the registrar and hasn't filed an annual return since 2000. Given that both the UK and HK entities are dormant, it is unclear why Mr Lau thinks he is still an associate.

Possibly not by coincidence, we also found that Mr Chow Pai Ying, in 2002 a former INED of Winsor Industrial Corp Ltd and Winsor Properties Holdings Ltd (1036), claimed to hold a "Doctor of Philosophy degree in Business Administration from the Clayton University, a Master of Business Administration from the Pacific Western University, U.S.A." (possibly the diploma mill in Hawaii) and was also a member of the "Association of Cost and Executive Accountants, U.K."

©, 2009

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