Sun, Sep 29, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ching Fu Shipbuilding sentences handed down

Staff writer, with CNA

Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co chairman Chen Ching-nan (陳慶男) was sentenced on Friday to 25 years in prison by the Kaohsiung District Court for loan fraud offenses related to a navy contract.

After more than a year at trial, the court found Chen guilty of forgery and breaching the Banking Act (銀行法) and, in addition to his prison sentence, ordered him to pay a fine of NT$105 million (US$3.38 million).

The court also found Chen’s wife, Chen Lu Chao-hsia (陳盧昭霞), a company director, guilty and sentenced her to 18 months in prison for not disboursing funds that she had pledged, which were required for a capital increase plan needed to secure the loan.

Former company CEO Chien Liang-chien (簡良鑑) was found guilty of forging documents and sentenced to six months in prison, which is commutable to a fine, and project manager Lee Wei-feng (李維峰) was acquitted of the charges against him, the ruling said.

The court also fined the company NT$280 million for loan fraud.

Another key figure in the case, company vice chairman Chen Wei-chih (陳偉志), son of Chen Ching-nan, last year fled overseas after jumping bail, and his trial has been postponed until he is brought into custody, the court said.

The sentences and fines were lighter than those recommended by prosecutors, who indicted the five individuals in February last year on charges related to using false documents to obtain a NT$20.5 billion syndicated loan from nine domestic lenders in 2016.

At that time, the prosecutors were seeking a 30-year sentence and NT$1 billion fine for Chen Ching-nan, a 25-year sentence and NT$600 million fine for Chen Wei-chih and a 20-year sentence and NT$300 million fine for Chien, saying that their offenses severely damaged national interests.

The company, the nation’s largest private shipbuilder, applied for the loan to finance the building of six minesweepers for the navy after it won a contract from the Ministry of National Defense in October 2014 with a bid of about NT$35 billion.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office, which had investigated the case since August 2017, suspected that the company used false documents to fake four capital increases that were required under the loan’s terms.

When the father and son were summoned for questioning in October 2017, they admitted to having forged the loan application documents under Chien’s direction, prosecutors said.

They said they did it because the company needed to make up for cash flow shortages due to insufficient funding from the ministry to support the project.

The father and son were released at that time after posting bail of NT$8 million and NT$5 million respectively.

The verdicts can be appealed.

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