Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors question 19 over financial irregularities

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police escort Taiwan Indigena Botanica chairman Su Ching-hua, second left, and director Tai Cheng-jeng, second right, to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning on Tuesday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Prosecutors have summoned for questioning 19 people linked to Taiwan Indigena Botanica Co (台灣原生藥) as part of a probe into allegations of financial irregularities and the forgery of accounting records.

Authorities on Tuesday raided the company’s office and 26 other locations to investigate alleged breaches of the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法).

Two of the main figures in the case, Taiwan Indigena Botanica chairman Su Ching-hua (蘇慶華) and Taipei Medical University Department of Hematology and Oncology head Tai Cheng-jeng (戴承正), were released late yesterday following questioning by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

Su has been listed as a suspect and travel restrictions have been imposed on Tai, prosecutors said, adding that several businesspeople linked to the case have been released after posting bail of between NT$50,000 and NT$200,000 (US$1,633 and US$6,533).

Su, a former professor at the university’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is a leading authority on research into the biomedical properties of Antrodia cinnamomea, which is best known in Taiwan as “bovine tree fungus” (牛樟芝).

He is known as the “father of bovine tree fungus,” which in Chinese herbal medicine is touted as having properties that protect the liver, detoxify the body and lower the activity of cancer cells.

Products made from the fungus are the Taipei-based firm’s best-sellers.

The company, which is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, has allegedly manipulated stock prices to deceive investors by forging accounting data, falsifying transaction records and through questionable asset transfers to other firms, prosecutors said, adding that it has falsely reported more than NT$100 million in revenue.

The alleged fraudulent accounting and stock manipulation began in 2015 and it reported NT$50 million in fake transactions in the second half of that year, prosecutors said, adding that it did not generate any profit in that period.

Company executives conducted bogus transactions with other firms, prosecutors said, citing an illegal transfer totaling NT$20 million from Taipei-based IC manufacturer Siltrontch Electronics Corp (佳營電子).

Taiwan Indigena Botanica is the result of a reconstitution of Mega Biotech and Eletronics Co (美嘉生電), which was delisted following a stock manipulation scandal in 2011.

Su and other executives took over the company in 2014 and focused its work on sales and marketing of bovine tree fungus and other biopharmaceuticals.

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