Transglobe denies involvement in property dispute

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Page 14

Transglobe Life Insurance Inc (全球人壽), the winning bidder for Kuo Hua Life Insurance Co (國華人壽), yesterday issued a statement denying any involvement in a property dispute after investigators searched its offices.

The investigation came after a US property firm accused Taiwan’s Meifu Property Development Group (美孚建設集團) of unfairly inflating price evaluations of an office building in Taipei’s Neihu District that is partially owned by Transglobe.

“Meifu has no legal ties to Transglobe, whose sole shareholder is Zhongwei Co (中瑋一),” the statement said.

Zhongwei is a holding company co-founded in 2009 by Stiven Peng (彭騰德), son of Meifu chairman Tom Peng (彭誠浩), that bought the local unit of Dutch insurer Aegon NV for 65 million euros (US$84.1 million) and renamed it Transglobe.

Investigators have launched a probe into a kickbacks scandal in which Meifu allegedly valued the Neihu building at NT$700,000 (US$24,019) per ping (3.3m2) higher than the market rate of NT$600,000 per ping.

“Transglobe gave an account of its role in the deal and supplied the documents requested,” the insurer said, insisting it adhered to legal requirements when conducting transactions.

On Tuesday, the insurer won the auction for Kuo Hua Life with a bid of NT$88.37 billion (US$3.04 billion). Taiwan Insurance Guaranty Fund (保險安定基金) is paying Transglobe the sum to cover Kuo Hua Life’s losses.

The Financial Supervisory Commission said it was not aware of any irregular ties between Meifu and Transglobe.