The corruption trial of two former Tyco International Ltd executives ended in a mistrial on Friday after an apparent holdout juror received a threatening letter, leaving the judge with "no choice" but to halt the 12-day-old deliberations. \nThe juror, who triggered a courtroom tempest last week when she appeared to give defendant Dennis Kozlowski an approving hand signal, had received the letter in the previous 24 hours, courtroom sources said. \nState Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus, visibly upset and with a quaking voice, said it was a "shame" the judicial process could not be protected. \n"I have no choice but to grant a mistrial," Obus said, citing "outside pressure" on one juror. \nThe mistrial ended a six-month-long trial for Kozlowski, Tyco's former chairman, and Mark Swartz, its ex-finance chief, who were accused of looting the conglomerate of US$600 million in one of the biggest corporate corruption cases in US history. \nManhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said his office would seek a retrial. \nDefense attorneys sought a mistrial all week, arguing that media exposure of the juror, 79-year-old Ruth Jordan, prevented the panel from reaching a fair verdict. The retired teacher and lawyer sparked the controversy last week when she made what was widely reported as an "OK" hand gesture toward the defense. \nThat followed jury complaints to the judge about a "poisonous" atmosphere in the deliberation room. Jury notes indicated most panelists were leaning toward guilty verdicts. \nLate on Friday, Jordan issued a statement declining all media requests for interviews. \n"My greatest interest is, and always has been, to do the right thing in my role as a juror in this case," Jordan said in the statement. "I do not know that I could express additional views at this time. \nAfter Jordan's identity was revealed by the media, she became the topic of scathing Internet chatter, and one source described the letter she received as threatening. \nSwartz's attorney Charles Stillman said: "I've been doing this 40 years. I tell you, if I piled up all the experiences top to bottom, I ain't seen nothing like this yet." \nJuror Peter McEntegart told reporters the panel had been on the verge of a verdict. \n"We virtually had a verdict yesterday afternoon," he said, but the panel opted to return on Friday for what they thought would be another few minutes of deliberations. \nBut while the defense now has the advantage of having heard the evidence, Boston lawyer Michael Connolly noted the 11-to-1 jury split could push the defense toward a plea deal. \n"The defense has to be realistic," he said. "Next time they may not get one holdout juror." \nKozlowski and Swartz built Tyco into one of the world's largest conglomerates by buying hundreds of companies, and the case was considered a pivotal prosecution in the wake of other US corporate scandals, such as those at Enron and WorldCom. \nProsecutors claimed Kozlowski and Swartz used Tyco as their piggy bank, enjoying unauthorized bonuses, forgiven loans and other payments, but defense attorneys said all the money was paid with company approval. \nThe case, thought to cost the state as much as US$6 million and the defendants just as much, captured public attention when testimony revealed Kozlowski's lavish spending. \nJurors heard how he paid US$5 million for a diamond ring, US$6,000 for a shower curtain and US$2 million to fete his wife in Sardinia, Italy, for her 40th birthday. \nThe party featured a now-infamous ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David with vodka flowing from its penis. \nKozlowski and Swartz still face lawsuits filed by Tyco and Tyco shareholders, and Kozlowski faces tax-evasion charges.
JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive officer Jamie Dimon on Tuesday quipped that his company is likely to outlast the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while reiterating the bank’s commitment to the country in wide-ranging comments that also touched on Taiwan, free speech and former US president Donald Trump. “We hope to be there [in China] for a long time,” Dimon told a panel discussion at the Boston College Chief Executives Club. Relaying a “joke” he made during a recent visit to Hong Kong, he said “The communist party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a
The Kaohsiung City Government yesterday said it would impose a property hoarding tax as it is seeking to contain speculation in the real-estate market, calling recent price increases “abnormal.” The announcement came in support of the Ministry of Finance’s call for local governments to levy a high tax rate on people with more than one property. Ministry officials on Tuesday discussed strategies to rein in speculation with the nation’s six special municipalities, as well as the Hsinchu city and county governments. About 84,000 out of 1.06 million housing units in Kaohsiung are not residential property, the city government said in a
BOOST EXPECTED: Higher market prices would offset effects of the industry’s transition to more climate-friendly production methods, a company official said China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) expects steel demand to increase on the back of governments around the world subsidizing infrastructure construction amid a stabilizing COVID-19 pandemic, CSC chairman Wong Chao-tung (翁朝棟) told an investors’ meeting yesterday. “After getting through the hard times, I foresee at least one year, very possibly two years, of strong steel market,” Wong said. Calling a dip in steel prices a “short respite for the market,” Wong said that it would likely bounce back early next year on the back of mild winter temperatures around the world allowing construction activity. Despite COVID-19 spikes in some regions and increased
The resilience of the semiconductor supply chain was at the top of the agenda yesterday at the second Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue between representatives from Taiwan and the US. Other topics discussed included public health, green energy, the digital economy, 5G network security, and science and technology, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said. Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) and Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) represented Taiwan via videoconference from Taipei, while US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez spoke from Washington. The dialogue was conducted under the auspices of the American Institute