Tue, Jul 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Lawyer for Yuanta pair pins blame on government policies

SCAPEGOATS Yuanta Group and its affiliates should not have to pay for mistakes made by the government, the lawyer told Taipei District Court

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The lawyer for former Yuanta Group chairman Rudy Ma (馬志玲) yesterday said the group lost hundreds of millions of NT dollars because it had to comply with government regulations, yet its leadership was accused of breach of trust.

Ma and his wife, former Yuanta Securities Corp (元大證券) chairwoman Judy Tu (杜麗莊), appeared at Taipei District Court yesterday for their trial on breach of trust and irregular trading charges.

Ma’s lawyer, Song Yao-ming (宋耀明), said that government policy was the root of the problem and that the Yuanta Group and its affiliates should not have to pay for the government’s mistakes.

After suffering substantial losses in interest-rate-linked structured notes following a series of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, the group sold shares of Yuanta Investment Trust to Yuanta Securities in 2005.

Prosecutors say the deal involved trading irregularities and that Yuanta Securities made NT$600 million (US$18 million) in illegal profit.

Song has told the court that his client has been suffering from dementia for the past three years, affecting his ability to communicate. Song said Ma’s confession during questioning by prosecutors should therefore be discounted as evidence.

“It’s ridiculous,” Song said as he left the courtroom. “The Ma family suffered hundreds of millions of NT dollars in financial losses and were charged with breach of trust and violation of the Securities Transactions Act [證券交易法] in return.”

Ma and Tu were indicted in April. Prosecutors have asked the Taipei District Court to sentence them to 10 years in prison.

Yuanta Securities president Lee Chang (張立秋), bond department assistant manager Wu Li-min (吳麗敏), Yuanta Bank general manager Chen Chi-chang (陳麒漳) and former Yuanta official Lin Ming-yi (林明義) have also been indicted. Prosecutors are seeking eight-year sentences for each of them.

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