Thu, Apr 18, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Four named as corporate fraud probe suspects

TAIPEI PROSECUTORS:CMMT vice chairperson Yeh Mei-li and four others have been named as suspects, while nine more have been questioned as witnesses in the case

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Cheng Mei Materials Technology vice chairwoman Yeh Mei-li is pictured at an event on Aug. 28, 2017.

Photo: Chen Yung-chi, Taipei Times

Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB) officials and police yesterday raided six locations in the greater Taipei area as part of an investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering by a top executive of Cheng Mei Materials Technology (CMMT).

CMMT, which manufactures polarizers and other optoelectronics components, is a subsidiary of Chi Mei Group.

Taipei prosecutors coordinated the raids with the bureau and police and served summons to 13 people, including CMMT vice chairperson Yeh Mei-li (葉美麗), for questioning regarding the alleged transfer of about NT$260 million (US$8.43 million at the current exchange rate) into private hands.

Yeh’s residence and the offices of companies that she controls were among the sites searched.

Yeh and four others have been listed as suspects in the case, and would face charges of breach of trust, money laundering and contravening provisions of the Business Entity Accounting Act (商業會計法) and the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法), prosecutors said.

Nine people were questioned as witnesses by prosecutors, who scheduled bail hearings for the suspects last night.

The investigation is focused on Yeh’s actions as chairperson of Mao Fong Trading, an international trading unit of CMMT, and the transfer in September last year of NT$88.26 million to Hong Kong-based Bao Dui International, reportedly to pay for supplies.

Prosecutors said Bao Dui is a shell company, registered in the name of Kuo Ya-wen, who is reportedly Yeh’s daughter.

Kuo and Bao Dui were named in the Panama Papers in 2015, with Bao Dui allegedly being used to launder money from criminal activities, they said.

Prosecutors and other officials are also investigating Yeh’s purchase of shares in Jun Hong Optronics in January last year.

Yeh reportedly paid NT$42 million for 1,000 Jun Hong Optronics shares, which she then sold to a third person before the shares were bought for NT$90 million by Mao Fong Trading and Mao Yu Investment, another firm she controlled.

Prosecutors said they received complaints from other shareholders that these were fraudulent transactions aimed at siphoning off about NT$48 million in corporate assets from Mao Fong Trading.

They said Yeh might have made about NT$260 million from the deals and then laundered the money through her daughter’s bank accounts in Hong Kong.

Yeh in January tried to gain control of CMMT when an illness prevented CMMT chairman Ho Jau-yang (何昭陽) from attending a company meeting. She called an emergency board of directors meeting on Jan. 14, where she directed the board to dismiss Ho and name her chairperson, which it did.

Ho, a founding member of Chi Mei Group and former general manager of Chi Mei Optoeletronics, fought the move in court and won reinstatement.

The court ruled that Yeh’s calling of the emergency meeting and the decisions taken by the board at the meeting had contravened business laws.

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