Attorney General for Hong Kong v Reid and Others: PC 24 Nov 1993

Principalhas proprietary interest in Trust assets

Bribes were taken by an employee, a crown prosecutor in Hong Kong, in a fraud on his employer. He then invested the proceeds in the purchase of property in New Zealand. The property had increased in value. The employer sought repayment of the bribes received from the properties purchased.
Held: The employer had a proprietary interest both in the bribe and in the asset substituted for it. Thus the property belonged in equity to the employer. The first stage in the analysis was the decision that the bribe itself was trust property. The second stage in the analysis was simply the application of the process of tracing the value of the bribe into the asset that had been substituted for it. A fiduciary office holder who accepted a bribe holds both the original sum, and any increase in its value, on a constructive trust for the person to whom he owed that fiduciary duty. Bribery is an evil practice which threatens the foundations of any civilised society. It corrupts not only the recipient but the giver of the bribe. ‘property acquired by a trustee innocently but in breach of trust and the property from time to time representing the same belong in equity to the cestui que trust and not to the trustee personally’:
Lord Templeman Lrd Goff. Lord Lowry, Lord Lloyd, Sir Thomas Eichelbaum
Gazette 26-Jan-1994, Independent 24-Nov-1993, Times 12-Nov-1993, [1994] 1 AC 324, [1993] UKPC 2, [1994] 1 All ER 1
England and Wales
Wrongly decidedLister and Co v Stubbs CA 1890
It was alleged by the plaintiffs that their foreman had received secret commissions which he had invested in land and other investments. They sought interlocutory relief to prevent him dealing with the land and requiring him to bring the other . .

Cited by:
CitedTesco Stores Limited v Pook, Pook, Universal Projects (UK) Limited ChD 14-Apr-2003
A trustee in breach of his duty has a duty to disclose that breach. It was alleged that the defendants, including a director of the claimant, had submitted false invoices to the claimants, and purchased property with the resulting profits.
CitedUltraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding and others ChD 27-Jul-2005
The parties had engaged in a bitter 95 day trial in which allegations of forgery, theft, false accounting, blackmail and arson. A company owning patents and other rights had become insolvent, and the real concern was the destination and ownership of . .
CitedIslamic Republic of Pakistan v Zardari and others ComC 6-Oct-2006
The claimant alleged that the defendants had funded the purchase of various properties by secret and unlawful commissions taken by them whilst in power in Pakistan. They sought to recover the proceeds. They now sought permission to serve proceedings . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.77944