Prosecutors yesterday requested that four former officials from Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp (台苯) and the head of an investment group be detained on suspicion of embezzling over NT$1 billion (US$33 million) from the nation’s largest maker of styrene monomer products.
Taipei prosecutors filed a request with the Taipei District Court to detain the company’s former chairman Chang Chung-chien (張鍾潛), his successor Liu Cheng-yuan (劉正元), former vice general manager of finance Su Jia-ping (蘇嘉屏) and his successor Chen Ming-te (陳明得), as well as the head of a stock investment group, Sun Tieh-han (孫鐵漢).
Prosecutors said the suspects were charged with violations of securities transaction regulations and they are likely to collude on their testimonies if they are free to communicate with each other.
The Taipei District Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to take the five into custody.
Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
On Friday, 57 prosecutors led over 100 Investigation Bureau agents in a raid of the company, as well as residences and offices of the suspects.
A number of documents were seized and 41 people were summoned for questioning, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, in an audit in 2011, officials at the Taiwan Stock Exchange detected several suspicious dealings, including false transactions and unusual investments.
They forwarded the case to the Financial Supervisory Commission and then to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for an expanded probe.
Prosecutors said that in March 2011 the company sold half of its shares in one of its overseas subsidiaries, Asia Fortune, adding that the shares in Asia Fortune were worth around NT$1 billion according to the market price, but the company sold them for NT$400 million.
Prosecutors said Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp invested in two companies, First Giant and Neodis, between 2002 and 2010, but lost nearly NT$350 million in the investments.
Prosecutors added that in January last year, the company paid more than NT$200 million more than the market price to acquire Yangmingshan Tienlai Spa Hotel, causing huge corporate losses.
Prosecutors said they suspected the suspects embezzled company funds in these irregular dealings.
Chang was vice minister of economics and chairman of Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) before he serving as chairman of Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp for 13 years.