Top Pot suspects bailed

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Oct 04, 2013 - Page 4

Mike Xu (許雅鈞), husband of talk show hostess Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, better known as Little S), was released on NT$2 million (US$68,100) bail yesterday by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office after being questioned for alleged involvement in illegal trading.

The probe stemmed from a case in August involving a Hong Kong netizen claiming that the bread made by Top Pot Bakery — the products of which Hsu had endorsed and in which Xu held stocks — was not made from all-natural ingredients as the chain store claimed, but contained food additives, including multiple food coloring agents, as well as propylene glycol, which is a legal food additive in Taiwan.

Though the entire scandal seemed to be a matter of false advertising, the office’s investigations into the company on suspicion of fraud discovered that Top Pot’s parent company, Genome International, had allegedly violated the insider trading clause of the Securities Exchange Act (證券交易法).

Further investigation into the issue by the office found that Genome chairman Hsu Hsun-ping (徐洵平), Genome International’s supervisor Chiang Lee-fen (姜麗芬), chief financial officer Huang Hsiao-ling (黃筱玲), Xu and his father, Xu Ching-hsiang (許慶祥), had allegedly sold company stock that they owned — a total of 1,500,000 shares — at a high point when each share went for NT$100, before the company released its statement that it was doing poorly.

The five suspects were said to have avoided financial losses totaling nearly NT$60 million.

The residences of all five suspects was searched on Wednesday and they were taken to the prosecutors’ office for questioning.

Hsu Hsun-ping posted bail of NT$5 million, Xu Ching-hsiang and Chiang posted NT$3 million each and Huang posted NT$200,000. All five have been barred from traveling overseas.

The office said that because Hsu Hsun-ping had pleaded guilty and willingly surrendered all illegally gained funds, he would be allowed a reduced sentence if found guilty according to the act.