Sun, Jan 27, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Cosmos Bank founder target of investigation

A FAMILY AFFAIR Over five years, the former chairman and his son are believed to have used Cosmos Bank and other firms to embezzle funds

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The founder and former chairman of Cosmos Bank, Hsu Sheng-fa (許勝發), and his son, former vice chairman Hsu Sen-rong (許顯榮), were prohibited from leaving the country over their alleged involvement in embezzlement, Taipei prosecutors said yesterday.

Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) said the Hsus were the subject of an embezzlement investigation at Cosmos Bank and would be summoned for questioning this week.

Prosecutors were seeking to determine whether the pair had violated the Banking Act (銀行法), the Securities Transaction Law (證券交易法) and the Business Entity Accounting Law (商業會計法), Lin said.


On Friday afternoon, more than 100 Taipei prosecutors and Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) agents raided the headquarters of Auto 21, a vehicle sales company run by Hsu Sheng-fa and his son, as well as their offices and residences.

Lin said investigators had seized a number of documents.

Prosecutors on Friday afternoon also summoned nine officials from Auto 21 for questioning, but released them without bail early yesterday morning.


Prosecutors believe that between 2001 and 2006, the Hsus used more than 10 Auto 21 subsidiaries to apply for loans from the bank, and that under their direction the bank illegally granted the loans, believed to be valued at about NT$800 million (US$24.7 million).

Between 2004 and 2005, the pair allegedly used several plots of land as collateral for loans of more than NT$2 billion from the bank, which granted the loans despite the fact that the real value of the plots was much lower than indicated, prosecutors said.

In addition, in 2004 the Hsus allegedly sold NT$15 billion in non-performing loans to Asset Management Company, a subsidiary of Auto 21, for NT$1 billion -- far less than normal practice, prosecutors said, adding that the company had only paid the bank NT$30 million.

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