Taipei police yesterday raided the residence and offices of former Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行) chairman Mckinney Tsai (蔡友才), and summoned him and four other people for questioning in connection with an ongoing judicial probe into the bank.
All five were still being questioned at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office at press time last night.
Police gathered materials and evidence at five locations in Taipei and New Taipei City.
Photo: Liu Hsin-te, Taipei Times
The operation was coordinated by head prosecutor Chou Shih-yu (周士榆), who said the judicial proceeding was moving into a new phase, as prosecutors look to uncover evidence of Tsai’s involvement in the Mega Bank financial scandal.
Prosecutors said they were prepared to indict Tsai on suspicion of violating provisions of the Banking Act (銀行法), with evidence linking Tsai to illegal transactions and possible money laundering activities.
Yesterday’s raids on Tsai’s residence and office were the first time investigators directly checked the former bank chairman’s personal properties and communication devices, with police confiscating his mobile phone and computers.
Prosecutors said that the investigation unit’s information technology personnel were transferring data from Tsai’s computers, and examining call records on his mobile phone to identify the people with whom he had been in contact.
Prosecutors had previously summoned Tsai for questioning on Aug. 23, Aug. 29 and on Wednesday, in the initial phase of its investigation into the bank’s financial transactions.
In those instances, the questioning focused on clarifying and detailing the circumstances that led to Tsai tendering his resignation as bank chairman in March, after the New York State Department of Financial Services started investigating Mega Bank in January for noncompliance with money laundering regulations and sent a request to the bank to correct the problem on Feb. 9.
Mega Bank sent an adjustment report that failed to satisfy US regulators, which imposed a massive fine of US$180 million on Mega Bank’s New York branch for breaching the US’ Bank Secrecy Act.
Prosecutors also sought to clarify whether Tsai and former minister of finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) discussed the details of the case during a dinner meeting earlier this week and whether there was any attempt to coordinate their testimonies.
Chang was summoned for questioning by Taipei prosecutors on Monday last week.
Tsai reiterated at yesterday’s questioning that he had not been involved in money laundering activities and that he had neglected to report suspicious transactions to US regulators because of his unfamiliarity with US banking regulations.
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