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Sat, Mar 31, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Court indicts the chairman of First Commercial Bank

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) chairman Jerome Chen (陳建隆) was indicted yesterday for using bank resources in bank supervisor Charles Chiang's (江昭儀) DPP legislative primary election bid.

The Taipei District Prosecutors office charged Chen with breach of trust and recommended that the court announce its verdict in summary procedure, calling Chen's confession during its investigation and other evidence sufficient for the court to render a guilty verdict.

The prosecution said that during the investigation Chen agreed to accept a penalty of less than 50 days in prison and a fine of NT$578,000 -- the sum of money he misused -- without a suspension of his sentence.

The scandal was revealed by PFP legislator Chen Chao-jung (陳朝容) on March 11 and has sparked fierce criticism by opposition politicians. It resulted in Chiang's resignation from four official posts, including the advisor and department chief of the Executive Yuan.

Chiang was to run in February's DPP legislative primary in Changhua County. In a bid to help Chiang win the election, Chen, in his capacity as bank chairman, sent letters to the bank's clients in the county, asking them to vote for Chiang.

According to the indictment, Chen ordered the printing of the 126,486 letters, which cost NT$110,000. The address labels on the envelops were estimated to cost NT$25,297 and postage for the letters came to NT$442,701, all financed with bank funds.

The prosecutors said Chen misused bank resources to carry out affairs irrelevant to the business of the bank or his position as chairman.

The Ministry of Finance fined Chen NT$60,000 earlier this month for using confidential customer information to help Chiang's campaign bid. The ministry also asked Chen to return the money he misused. Chen earlier expressed repentance and said he would not misuse his post again.

Opposition party lawmakers have criticized Minister of Finance Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章) for allowing Chen to remain in his position as the bank's chairman.

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