Sun, Aug 14, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Two indicted for insider trading

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE Prosecutors charged the chairman of Shin Kong Financial and one other for selling shares in the firm ahead of a sharply revised earnings forecast


Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) and Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) supervisor Wu Tung-hsiung (吳統雄) were indicted Friday evening for insider trading by the Taipei Prosecutors' Office.

The office said the two sold more than 2,000 shares of Shin Kong Financial before the company publicly released its merger plan and revised downward its financial forecast.

Shin Kong Financial Holding Co is the nation's seventh-largest financial service group in terms of assets.

"The two Wus were indicted for violating the Securities Transaction Law (違反證券交易法), and the office recommended heavy sentences to the court," said Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑), a spokesman for the Taipei Prosecutor's Office.

Lin said that on June 25, 2002, Shin Kong Financial announced the nation's first merger plan between two financial holding companies -- Taishin Financial Holding Co and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. Meanwhile, it also revised downward Shin Kong Financial's profit forecast for the year, from an initial NT$3.96 billion (US$124 million) gain to an after-tax loss of NT$8.82 billion.

Lin noted the two Wus knew that the announcement would hurt the company's share price. So on June 19 and June 20, Eugene Wu sold 1,510 Shin Kong Financial shares, and on June 13, Wu Tung-hsiung, at the time the Shin Kong Financial's advisor, borrowed 650 shares in the company.

Prosecutors say Eugene Wu then sold those shares through two companies. Although Wu denies the sale, the companies' staff has admitted selling the shares for Wu, Lin said.

Lin said the two Wus profited substantially from the share sales.

Prosecutors chose not to indict Taishin Financial's chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮), Eugene Wu's younger brother, Shin Kong Financial's supervisor Huang He-cheng (黃和鎮) and three Taishin and Shin Kong's officials.

Lin said although the five sold more than 30,000 Shin Kong Financial shares just before June 25, 2002, there was no evidence proving that they had inside information. In particular, prosecutors said that although Thomas Wu and the others likely knew about the merger plan, there's no evidence proving that they knew that Shin Kong's earnings outlook would be revised sharply downward.

The merger plan was scrapped eight days later. Taishin Financial's Thomas Wu decided to nix the deal primarily because of Shin Kong Financial's revision of its earnings forecast, which caused Taishin to lose confidence in Shin Kong Financial's financial situation.

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