Thu, Dec 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors free Alexander Group chairwoman on bail

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors yesterday released Alexander Group (亞力山大集團) chairwoman Candy Tang (唐雅君) and her younger sister, Tang Hsin-ru (唐心如), on NT$2 million (US$61,000) bail each after they were detained on suspicion that the health club defrauded its customers.

Facing financial difficulties, the parent company of the nation's leading fitness centers, Alexander Health Clubs (亞力山大健康休閒俱樂部), on Monday shut down all 20 of its branches without prior notice to its 20,000 members or the company's 2,000 employees.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Candy Tang's actions constitute fraud under criminal law, Taipei District Prosecutors Office spokesman Lin Ching-tsun (林錦村) said.

Lin said that if Alexander Group realized it had financial difficulties and would soon suspend operations, but was still advertising for new members, it may have violated fraud laws.

Lin told reporters yesterday that prosecutors had summoned chairman of computer maker Inventec Corp (英業達) Yeh Kuo-yi (葉國一), chairman of direct selling firm Kelti International Co (克緹國際), Chen Wu-kang (陳武剛) and other businessmen yesterday as witnesses and questioned them on loans they had granted to Candy Tang.

Yeh told prosecutors that he gave Candy Tang a loan of NT$600 million but she had not returned the money because of financial difficulties.

Lin said prosecutors are investigating whether Tang requested loans from the businessmen to cover her financial difficulties, and whether Tang used the funds to manage the health club or transferred them to China to expand her health club there, which may be a breach of criminal law.

The Consumer Protection Commission has applied to freeze the sisters' accounts to facilitate customer requests for compensation, Lin said. Prosecutors were looking at the accounts and could freeze them if necessary, she said.

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