Tue, Aug 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Three China Metal and Prince Housing executives indicted

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Three executives from local builders China Metal Products Co (勤美建設) and Prince Housing & Development Corp (太子建設) paid a total of NT$82 million (US$2.5 million) in bail after indictments on charges including breach of trust.

China Metal chairman Ho Ming-hsien (何明憲) was released on bail of NT$70 million on Friday, a day after prosecutors indicted him on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust, company spokeswoman Ho Pei-fen (何佩芬) said in a briefing in Taipei yesterday.

Prince chairman Chuang Nan-tien (莊南田) and President Chen Ren-chin (陳仁欽) paid bail of NT$10 million and NT$2 million respectively and were charged with breach of trust and forgery, company lawyer Chen Yung-chang said in Taipei.

Executives at China Metal and Prince Housing are suspected of buying the non-performing loans of Splendor Hotel (金典酒店) in Taichung and selling them to companies at inflated prices, Lee Chung-wen, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutors’ Office, said by telephone yesterday.

Prosecutors earlier probed executives at Chong Hong Construction Co (長虹建設) for reselling land to the developer at inflated prices.

“The charges are pretty serious,” said Wey Jang-jyh (魏彰志), an analyst at Fubon Securities Co (富邦證券). “I would suggest investors to stay clear from stocks with legal problems.”

Wey has a “neutral” rating on Taiwan’s real estate and construction sector.

Prince Housing fell 2 percent to NT$15 as of 10:27am in Taipei trading. China Metal gained 2.6 percent to NT$33.20. The benchmark Taiex lost 0.5 percent.

Prosecutors are seeking a 24-year jail term for China Metal Chairman Ho, company spokeswoman Ho said.

The executives at the two firms couldn’t be reached for comment.

The companies were raided on June 3, and 21 employees were summoned for questioning, the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office said at the time.

China Metal was not involved in any wrongdoings, the company said then.

“The company is deeply sorry to hear about the charges,” Wu Chian-ying (吳建瑩), a spokesman for Tainan-based Prince Housing, said in a press briefing in Taipei today. “The case won’t impact the company’s operation.”

Chong Hong spokesman Chen Mao-qing (陳茂慶) said last week that chairman Lee Wen-tsao (李文造) and his wife weren’t available for comment.

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