Chong Hong in probe
Chong Hong Construction Co (長虹建設) chairman Lee Wen-tsao (李文造) and his wife came under investigation on Friday over alleged breach of trust, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said. Prosecutors raided Lee’s home and other locations, including the company, said Lin Chin-chun (林錦村), spokesman for the prosecutors’ office. The developer, which builds luxury apartments, said in a stock exchange filing late on Friday that its offices had been searched, but did not give details. Lee and his wife are suspected of buying land to resell to Chang Hong at higher prices between 2004 and last year, Lin said. Chong Hong said it would cooperate in the investigation, adding that its financials and operations would not be affected.
Cathay Life buys building
Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) said on Friday that its insurance unit, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), had bought an office building in Neihu from Chailease Finance Co (中租迪和) for NT$2.82 billion (US$85.57 million), or NT$349,929 per ping (3.3m²). The sum compares with appraisals made by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (戴德梁行) at NT$2.85 billion and Top Real Estate Appraisal Firm (尚上不動產) at NT$3.82 billion, a stock exchange filing said.
BP scraps Canada project
British oil company BP said on Friday that it was abandoning plans to build a refinery in eastern Canada. BP has worked for the last 18 months with Canadian firm Irving Oil to study the feasibility of building a refinery in St. John, New Brunswick. The two firms reached the conclusion that “the project was not viable at a time of global economic recession and dampening forecasts for petroleum product demand in North America,” BP said in a statement.
Dell settles in lawsuit
Dell Inc said on Friday it had agreed to settle a federal gender-discrimination class action lawsuit brought by former employees for US$9.1 million. Under the terms of the settlement, Dell said US$5.6 million will be used for payments to class members and for litigation costs. The class is defined as all women employed by Dell in the US for at least one day in a C1 through D3 level position between Feb. 14, 2007, and Dec. 31 last year. Another US$3.5 million will be used to raise C1 to D3-level female employees’ pay to match that of male counterparts. The lawsuit said Dell showed a pattern of gender discrimination in salaries.
Brown says sector stable
The British banking sector has stabilized but the world still lacks an overall strategy to ensure positive economic momentum, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday. “I think we’re at a point where the banks have been stabilized,” he told a seminar on reforming international financial institutions.
WTO head positive on trade
The global contraction in trade seems to be bottoming out, with Asia showing a rebound, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy said on Friday. But Lamy warned against “excessive optimism” as jobless numbers were still rising. “Although financial markets have recently shown signs of stabilization, and the trade contraction ... seems to [be] bottoming out, it is unclear how and how long it will take us to exit the crisis,” he told delegates of the WTO’s 153-member states.