Taipei 101 chairman Lin Hong-ming (林鴻明) was taken into custody on fraud charges yesterday by investigators from the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.
Lin was the owner of Jin Shang Chang Development Co, which took out corporate loans of NT$1.8 billion (US$60 million) from China United Trust and Investment Corp in 1999 for property development dealings, the investigation report said.
At the time, Lin put up several tracts of land in Tamsui (淡水), in what is now New Taipei City (新北市), as collateral for the loans, but the loans remained outstanding.
To offload the bad debt, China United Trust and Investment sold the debt to a number of land development and construction firms.
However, Jin Shang Chang Development Co did not report the bad debt on its financial statements and Lin is therefore suspected of hollowing out the assets of his company and violating the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法).
Prosecutor Wang Hsin-chien (王鑫建) of the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office led the initial probe on Thursday last week, with warrants to question 11 top officials at Jin Shang Chang and search their offices.
General manager Chen Chi-tsang (陳祈蒼) and chief financial officer Tung Tsui-hua (董翠華) were detained and remain in custody.
In the second round of probes on Wednesday, searches were carried out at other companies and six more individuals were questioned.
The prosecutors then determined that Lin was the actual owner of Jin Shang Chang, and had used fraudulent practices to transfer funds and hollow out company assets.
Lin, who is also vice chairman of Hung Kuo Real Estate Development Corp, was questioned for more than two hours at the Taipei District Court yesterday.
He has been detained and remanded into custody, as investigators are convinced he played an active role in the financial scandal, allegedly making profits in the billions of NT dollars.