Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Chinatrust's Koo Sr urges wanted son to come home

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Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) chairman Jeffrey Koo Sr. (辜濂松) was questioned by prosecutors yesterday morning over the company's purchase of a stake in Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控).

As he left the prosecutor's office in Taipei, Koo told reporters that his son, Jeffrey Koo Jr. (辜仲諒), who prosecutors want to question over alleged irregularities over the 2005 purchase, should cooperate with the investigation. He declined to elaborate.

"He's an honest man," Koo said, referring to his fugitive son. "He should come back to the country."

Koo's comments were broadcast by several television broadcasters, including CTI, a cable channel.

Regarding the case itself, Koo Sr. emphasized his innocence.

"I am getting old so I would not care that much about the company recently," he said. "But I do believe that my son would not do anything to jeopardize shareholders' legal rights and benefits."

Taipei District Court Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) declined to comment.

Koo Jr. resigned as vice chairman of Chinatrust on Nov. 24 after prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest. He was put on Taiwan's most-wanted list on Dec. 4 after he failed to report to police. He was last known to be in Japan, according to television reports.

Chinatrust, which owns the country's biggest credit-card issuer, on Jan. 24 said it planned to sell a 3.9 percent stake in Mega after it was ordered by regulators to cut its 15.6 percent holding because Chinatrust misused funds to buy the shares.

Financial regulators said in July that Koo Jr. didn't consult them before allowing the bank to buy a stake in Mega using funds that had been earmarked for loans.

Acquiring control of Mega would make Chinatrust Taiwan's second-largest financial group by market value.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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