Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co (大統長基) chairman Kao Cheng-li (高振利), a central figure in the recent tainted oil controversy, was yesterday released on a NT$12 million (US$405,000) bail after a preliminary proceeding at the Changhua District Court.
Prosecutors demanded Kao be detained for not giving details about the origin of the copper chlorophyllin substance Kao’s company added to its oil products and to prevent possible collusion, but the court rejected the demand.
On Oct. 25, Kao was indicted on charges of fraud and violation of the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) for allegedly adulterating the company’s edible oil products.
Prosecutors allege that for seven years Kao blended edible oil products with chlorophyllin and cottonseed oil, which is cheaper than other edible oils and toxic if it is left unrefined.
Prosecutors also raised the profit Kao allegedly pocketed from the illegal practice from about NT$1.85 billion to NT$2.02 billion.
Kao admitted that his company had added the chemical substance to its oil products, but said the coloring agents Chang Chi had purchased were all legal additives.
The other defendants in the case, Wen Rui-pin (溫瑞斌) and Chou Kun-ming (周昆明) — both Kao’s employees — pleaded guilty on all accounts.
Kao’s lawyer told to the court that Kao would have difficulty raising the NT$12 million bond because his assets had either been seized or frozen, while prosecutors said the assets of the rest of Kao’s family remained free and several activities of cash flows between the family’s various accounts had been observed recently.
Kao is required to report to a local police station twice every day, the court said.