Thu, Jul 20, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Alex Tsai held incommunicado

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai gestures yesterday on his way to the Taipei Detention Center.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Taipei District Court yesterday detained former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) over allegations that he embezzled NT$370 million (US$12.17 million) from Central Motion Pictures Corp (CMPC, 中央電影公司).

A judge ordered him held incommunicado, saying that there was a possibility he might flee, tamper with evidence or attempt to communicate with other principles in the case.

He was put in handcuffs and taken to the Taipei Detention Center in the morning.

After questioning Tsai, his wife Queena Hung (洪菱霙) and seven other people, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said it has sufficient evidence to charge Tsai with embezzlement, breach of trust and other offenses, stemming from a series of financial transactions in the late 2000s connected with CMPC.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators yesterday urged prosecutors to reopen a shelved investigation into former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) role in the sale of CMPC and other KMT-related assets while he was party chairman.

Taipei district prosecutors said that in 2006 Tsai talked investor Chuang Wan-chun (莊婉均) into purchasing 80 percent of CMPC shares for NT$3.1 billion, asking Cheng Uei Precision Industry (正崴精密工業) chairman Gou Tai-chiang (郭台強) and his wife, Lor Yu-chen, (羅玉珍) to act as guarantors of the deal.

Gou is a younger brother of Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密).

The three parties reached an agreement that ownership of the shares would be registered to Apollo Investment Co (阿波羅公司), a company founded by Tsai, prosecutors said, adding that Tsai, Chuang and Lor ran Apollo together.

Later in 2006, Tsai convened a meeting of shareholders to discuss a capital reduction proposal, and they resolved to reduce CMPC’s capital by NT$580 million, which was then entrusted to Apollo.

However, Tsai signed a contract with himself on behalf of Apollo, entrusting NT$430 million of the capital reduction funds to his name, prosecutors said.

Apollo then transferred the funds to the private accounts of Queena Hung, who was the head of Tsai’s legislative office at the time, and Tsai himself, prosecutors said.

Tsai also used the funds to invest on his own account, including in the property market, and the overall movement of funds eventually resulted in NT$240 million in losses for Apollo, prosecutors said.

In July 2010, when Apollo’s contract entrusting funds to Tsai expired, Tsai transferred NT$130 million to accounts held by Apollo, which included the account of a company registered under Hung’s name, prosecutors said.

Tsai sent somebody to withdraw the funds and deposit them in one of Tsai’s accounts, and the former lawmaker used the money to buy property, stocks and foreign currency and pay his credit card bills, prosecutors said.

During the detention hearing, Tsai denied all of the allegations and described them as political persecution.

Tsai’s lawyer said he would file an appeal against his detention.

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