Court denies SinoPac chairman bail

BETTER LATE::SinoPac plans to enhance oversight measures, avoid compliance failures and ensure information transparency, interim chairman Paul Chiu said

By Chang Wen-chuanand Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters

Mon, Jun 19, 2017 - Page 1

The Taipei District Court yesterday denied bail to SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控) chairman Ho Shou-chuan (何壽川), saying there is a possibility he would attempt to tamper with evidence or collude with others involved in a probe into alleged financial irregularities at the firm.

At the bail hearing, the judges said that under questioning, Ho gave prosecutors information that contradicted that given by YFY Inc (永豐餘控股) land development department manager Chang Chin-pang (張金榜), putting the truth of Ho’s responses into doubt.

Therefore, the court approved prosecutors’ request to detain Ho pending the results of a judicial investigation into the company’s alleged issuance of NT$5 billion (US$164.58 million) in questionable loans and other financial irregularities, they said.

Chang put correction fluid over Ho’s signature on a key transaction document in an attempt to deceive the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) about his involvement in the case, the judges said.

Therefore, the court deemed the two defendants capable of tampering with evidence and colluding on their testimony, they added.

Ho maintains that he was not involved and did not influence the transaction, but prosecutors said that contradicted the evidence and testimonies of others.

They also said that several figures in the investigation have not returned to Taiwan to participate in the investigation, and therefore there is sufficient reason to view Ho’s detention as necessary.

SinoPac Financial on Saturday called an emergency board meeting and appointed an interim chairman.

The company, which consists of subsidiaries in a wide range of financial services and has a global service network, appointed board director Paul Chiu (邱正雄) as acting chairman to succeed Ho, according to a company statement.

Chiu served as the nation’s vice premier from 2008 to 2009 and as the chairman of Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) from 2009 to last year.

Following Ho’s detention, SinoPac Financial held an impromptu news conference at the company’s headquarters in Taipei to assure customers and investors that its operations and finances are intact.

The company plans to enhance oversight measures, avoid compliance failures and ensure information transparency, Chiu said.

SinoPac Financial is to consult outside professionals to address perceived shortcomings in its corporate governance, internal audit and risk management mechanisms, he said.

Accompanied at the news conference by board director Chen Chia-hsien (陳嘉賢) and two independent directors, James Sheu (許建基) and Tsai Ying-yi (蔡穎義), Chiu said the company would also work to protect the interests of depositors and provide better services to its clients.

The firm is to hold a special board meeting later this week to name Chen the new president of SinoPac Financial, Chiu said.

He is to replace Yu Kuo-chih (游國治), who tendered his resignation last month.

Chen, who has a master of business administration degree from the University of Virginia, is chairman of SinoPac Call Center Co Ltd (永豐客服科技).

He has held positions on the boards of SinoPac Financial and Bank SinoPac for several years, SinoPac Financial said.

After taking up his new role, Chen said he would pay close attention to market responses, adding that the company has prepared contingency plans to cope with market fluctuations.

The company also plans to improve the competitiveness of its subsidiaries over the long term, Chen said, without elaborating.

Separately, the FSC yesterday said it would make a decision today on whether to prohibit Ho from holding the chairmanship of SinoPac Financial.

Additional reporting by staff writer