The Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld a guilty verdict for Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) on charges of insider trading and market manipulation in a second ruling, handing him an eight-month prison term and ordering repayment of NT$63 million (US$2.07 million) in illegal profits.
Fu was found guilty of contravening the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法) in 2003 by manipulating the stock price of Hold-Key Electric Wire and Cable Co (合機電線電纜), when he was a People First Party (PFP) legislator.
Legal proceedings began in August 2005, with the case winding through courts for 12 years. Yesterday’s decision can be appealed.
In the first ruling in 2008, the Taichung District Court found Fu guilty, imposing a 54-month prison term and a NT$50 million fine.
After an appeal, the Taichung branch of the High Court in 2010 found him guilty, handing down a 42-month prison term and a NT$40 million fine.
However, the Taipei branch of the High Court ordered a retrial, which reduced his prison time to nine months.
Following a subsequent appeal, the Supreme Court in 2014 returned the case to the High Court for a second retrial.
In yesterday’s ruling, the court said that as Fu’s insider trading and market manipulation took place in 2003, a penalty reduction was applied based on the 2007 Sentence Commutation Statutes (罪犯減刑條例), as well as the Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act (刑事妥速審判法).
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) questioned whether Fu received “preferential treatment from the justice system,” citing Fu’s involvement in the 1998 Typhone Food Co case.
“All defendants in the Typhone and Hold-Key cases have been serving their jail sentences, except for Fu, who was the main figure,” Tuan said. “The courts have handed him reduced terms, with more lenient sentences after each ruling, and he can still appeal the verdict.”
“Fu should be invited as a special guest at the ongoing judicial reform meetings,” Tuan added.
While Fu was elected as Hualien County commissioner as an independent, his political affiliation has leaned toward the pan-blue camp, as he began his political career with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) before joining the PFP in 2000.
Fu ran for the a legislative seat as elections in 2001 and 2005 as a PFP member, then registered to run in the Hualien County commissioner election as a KMT member in 2009, but was later expelled from the KMT.
In 2009, Fu controversially appointed his wife, now-KMT Legislator Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), as Hualien County deputy commissioner, which was predicated on the couple filing for divorce.
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