Mon, Oct 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Koo Jr asked to return from US

MEGA SCANDAL An official said that Jeffrey Koo Jr would be sent a formal letter requesting his return to Taipei from a fellowship study program as soon as possible

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors yesterday said they would ask Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) to return to Taiwan to be interviewed about his involvement in Chinatrust Financial Holding Co's investment in Mega Financial Holding Co.

Chinatrust has said that Koo Jr, who is on a two-month Eisenhower Fellowship program in the US, had not planned to return until Nov. 18. The company said that he would only return earlier if prosecutors made a request that he do so.

Last week the Taipei District Court ordered Perry Chang (張明田), Chinatrust's former chief financial officer, detained, along with the company's chief legal adviser, Deng Yan-dun (鄧彥敦), and vice general manager Lin Hsiang-hsi (林祥曦). Koo Jr was the only key figure not to be subpoenaed by prosecutors.

An official from the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Taipei Times yesterday that prosecutors would mail a notice to Koo Jr this week asking him to return to Taiwan as soon as possible for questioning.

Taking part in a study program would not be considered a valid excuse for delaying the prosecutors' investigation, the official said.

Prosecutors want to wrap up their investigation as quickly as they can because it is having an impact on Chinatrust and the nation's financial markets.

Investigators raided the Taipei headquarters of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co last week, seizing a number of documents.

Koo Jr stepped down as chairman and director of the board of Chinatrust Commercial Bank on July 21 over the Mega Financial deal.

Prosecutors said the investigation might lead to a variety of charges, including breach of trust, illegal trading and violation of the Banking Law (銀行法).

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has said that Chinatrust had invested in Mega Financial via structured notes transacted through its Hong Kong branch, but later transferred those notes to another Hong Kong-based company, Red Fire Development Ltd.

Red Fire later cashed in the structured notes, making a profit of more than US$31 million. The money was returned to Chinatrust after intervention by the FSC.

Prosecutors suspect that Red Fire is a front company controlled by the Koo family. They are trying to determine whether anyone has profited illegally from the Mega Financial deal.

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