Wed, Nov 01, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Farglory founder facing jail sentence

CENTRAL FIGURE:Chao Teng-hsiung was released on a record NT$550 million bail, but is restricted to his home and has been ordered not to leave the country

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Farglory Group chairman Chao Teng-hsiung arrives in handcuffs at the Taipei District Court yesterday for a hearing on charges of corruption.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday sought a jail sentence of 24 years for Farglory Group (遠雄集團) founder Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) on charges that include bribery and breach of trust in cases involving several public construction projects.

After a four-month investigation, prosecutors yesterday indicted 31 people, including Chao, New Taipei City Councilor Chou Sheng-kao (周勝考) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and former Taipei Department of Finance commissioner Lee Sush-der (李述德).

At 8pm, Chao, considered the central figure in the four cases relating to Farglory Group, was released on a record bail of NT$550 million (US$18.23 million).

The judge imposed restrictions on Chao’s movement, ordering him to remain within his home, prohibiting him from leaving the country and requiring him to report to his local police station every day.

Besides the Taipei Dome project, which has been mired in controversy and is unfinished due to a halt in construction because of years of legal wrangling, authorities investigated Chao on suspicion of embezzlement of funds from Farglory Life Insurance Co (遠雄人壽) in 2007 and 2008; and bribery of New Taipei City officials in 2013 to obtain contracts for two real-estate development projects — the rezoning of a former coal mine in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城) and a factory in New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District (新莊) — and a series of government urban renewal projects, which were all won by Chao’s Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設).

Prosecutors allege that Chao with his Farglory Group subsidiary companies secured the contracts and land development projects by giving bribes to government officials and people involved in the decisionmaking process through third parties.

Prosecutors requested a sentence of 10 years for Chao for falsifying financial reports and 14 years for bribery, including eight years for paying kickbacks to Chou and other New Taipei City officials in 2013.

Prosecutors are also seeking a 10-year sentence for Chou, who allegedly took and offered bribes for construction projects in Tucheng and Sinjhuang, and a 10-year jail term for Lee for violations in connection with the Taipei Dome project.

Lee has been indicted for financially benefiting Farglory Land Development Co, the main contractor for the Taipei Dome project. He was head of the city’s finance department from 1998 to 2006 when former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was Taipei mayor.

Prosecutors said that Lee represented the Taipei City Government during the contract negotiations for the Taipei Dome project.

“Lee was deceitful and misrepresented his role, and colluded with Farglory, making detrimental decisions against the rights of Taipei residents,” Taipei Deputy Chief Prosecutor Chou Shih-yu (周士榆) said.

A number of politicians, city government officials and other Farglory executives were also charged, with prosecutors seeking a nine-year sentence for Hsu Ming-wen (許銘文), former chief executive of the semi-government Taiwan Architecture & Building Center, and laid charges against Hung Chia-hung (洪嘉宏), the former head of the Urban and Rural Development Branch of the Construction and Planning Agency.

Prosecutors sought suspended sentences with probation for 13 defendants who allegedly had lesser roles and who cooperated with the investigation.

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