The Courier-Mail

Travel firm says hello to takeover bid

Xiao pleads guilty to insider trading charges


TRAVEL agency Helloworld has confirmed it is in takeover talks with AOT Group, which provides travel services to the inbound, corporate and leisure sectors throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Helloworld, which has combined the former Harvey World Travel and Jetset Travel, said it was weighing up the potential acquisitio­n of AOT and there was no certainty it would make an offer.

Helloworld’s net loss widened to around $200 million in the 12 months to the end of June, out from $63.3 million a year earlier. Helloworld, which has almost 1700 agents across Australia and New Zealand, continues to look for a new chief executive after Elizabeth Gaines tendered her resignatio­n in June. STEVEN Xiao, the former managing director of Hanlong Mining who was extradited from Hong Kong to Australia last year, has pleaded guilty to charges of insider trading.

Mr Xiao (pictured) pleaded guilty during a hearing yesterday to two charges of insider trading, the Australian Securities and Investment­s Commission said.

The charges involved 65 illegal trades in financial products related to Sundance Resources and Bannerman Resources in July y 2011, the commis- sion said.

The Chinese businessma­n, who also goes by the names of Hui Xiao and Jiayi Xiao, alsoo admitted to a thirdd “rolled-up” offence e of insider trading involving 37 additional illegal trades. Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail.

Mr Xiao is scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court on October 2. ASIC pursued Mr Xiao for three years after he fled to China in 2011 while under investigat­ion for what the regulator described as Australia’s biggest insider trading investigat­ion.

He was finally extradited to Australia last October after he was arrested in Hong Kong the previous January. Mr Xiao was accused of b buying shares in co companies with wh which Hanlong wa was in takeover di discussion­s and lat later selling them at a huge profit afteraft details of the bidbi were TheTh Australian

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