HK security dept annuls voting rights of Next Digital's imprisoned owner

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Media mogul Jimmy Lai, founder of Apple Daily, arrives the Court of Final Appeal by prison van in Hong Kong, China February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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June 1 (Reuters) - Media publisher Next Digital Ltd (0282.HK) said on Tuesday Hong Kong's National Security Department confirmed its founder and controlling shareholder, jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai, must not exercise voting rights on shares held by him.

Lai, who owns a 71.26% stake in Next Digital, can only exercise voting rights under the authority of a license granted by the Secretary for Security, according to the Security Department.

Lai was arrested in August last year and later charged under the national security law imposed by China. The pro-democracy activist's assets were also frozen under the same law. read more

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The National Security Department had notified Next Digital last week Lai was prohibited from dealing in assets, including shares of the company.

The media publisher said Lai was not a member of its board and so the voting rights prohibition was not expected to have any impact on its operations and financial performance.

The company's shares, which soared more than 300% last Thursday when they resumed trading after a suspension, closed 2.3% lower on Tuesday.

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Reporting by Riya Sharma; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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