The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) should return to Taiwan immediately and explain his daughter’s holdings in OBI Pharma Inc (台灣浩鼎), while calling on premier-designate Lin Chuan (林全) to conduct background checks on future Cabinet members.
Wong has been accused of share price manipulation and conflict of interest over his endorsement of OBI Pharma after its shares tanked when it released discouraging clinic trial results and allegations that his daughter bought 3 million shares of the company from Ruentex Group (潤泰集團) chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) in 2012.
Ruentex Group is a major shareholder of OBI Pharma.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the caucus had asked Academia Sinica for Wong’s itinerary, but the request was denied.
“Media reports said Wong went to Jerusalem to deliver a speech on March 14 and to San Diego [California] for another speech on March 17. Why is it that he is still abroad and cannot return until mid-April?” Wang asked.
“If it is Wong’s personal vacation, that would be fine, but if it is a public trip, it should be transparent to all,” Wang said, reiterating the caucus’ demand that Wong’s itinerary be made public.
Wang also raised questions about OBI Pharma’s shareholding structure.
“President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) brother and sister-in-law are also shareholders, and so is Wong’s daughter, Wong Yu-shioh (翁郁秀). Are others involved?” she asked, calling on Lin Chuan to make sure that his future Cabinet members are not involved.
KMT Legislator-at-large William Tseng (曾銘宗), who is also a former Financial Supervisory Commission chairman, denied that the KMT was making the accusations for political gain, as Yin has alleged.
Yin told the Chinese-language United Daily News on Wednesday that he bought back OBI Pharma shares in 2012 from US-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc, the parent company of OBI Pharma at the time and which was in poor management, and then sold them, “without earning a penny on [his] part,” to other shareholders, including Wong Yu-shioh.
OBI Pharma did not make its Emerging Stock Market debut until 2014, Yin said, adding that it did not even have a reference price four years ago.
He said the company experienced its toughest time in 2012 and 2013, during which only he and the original shareholders cared about the company.
The company’s price might have increased thereafter, but it could have collapsed as well, Yin said.
Wong Chi-huey told the Chinese-language Economic Daily News yesterday that the statement issued by OBI Pharma chairman Michael Chang (張念慈) on Wednesday was correct, and that he would make an official announcement and straighten things out in the Legislative Yuan after he returns to the country.
Chang had issued a statement saying that Wong Yu-shioh was one of the major shareholders of Optimer Pharmaceuticals and bought OBI Pharma shares before its stock market debut.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) also urged Wong Chi-huey to provide a public explanation.
“Wong Chi-huey should come out and clarify the incident, because things may get worse if he continues to stay away,” Huang said. “What his daughter does should not affect others in the business, because if the controversy surrounding OBI is not well taken cared of, it might affect the new government’s attitude toward the biotech industry.”
DPP legislators Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) and Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) added that it would be better for Wong Chi-huey to face the public, otherwise it might have a negative impact on Academic Sinica’s image.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
COMMUNICATION: A US representative said that Starshield is inactive in and around Taiwan, which could put US military personnel at risk in the Western Pacific in a conflict Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) might have contravened its Pentagon contract by not providing access to its satellite communication network Starshield in and around Taiwan, a letter from a US House of Representatives committee to the company said. In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield access, worth US$100 million. A few months before that, the Pentagon also commissioned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to be used by Ukrainian forces amid Russia’s invasion. Starshield is a derivative of Starlink intended for military use. SpaceX has long worked closely with the US military and intelligence agencies, which
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: TSMC founder Morris Chang said he has high hopes for the new fab, based on his experience in Japan 56 years earlier, and amid high demand for AI Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday held an opening ceremony for its first chip manufacturing fab in Kumamoto, Japan, which it hopes will improve chip supply resilience and help Japan usher in a semiconductor renaissance. The Kumamoto fab is slated to enter volume production in the fourth quarter of this year. The Japanese government said it would extend its financial support of the project to include the construction of a second factory, as TSMC’s investment is crucial to its efforts to revive its semiconductor industry. The Kumamoto fab is owned by a joint venture, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc (JASM), which
WAR GAMES: While US and Japanese militaries practice coordinating troops to stage landings, Taiwan is next month to test artillery and uncrewed aerial surveillance vehicles The US Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force have begun a military drill to simulate the retaking of outlying islands in Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture in a conflict scenario, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The drill, commonly known as “Iron Fist,” has been held in the US since 2006 before being moved to Japan for the first time this year, it said. The large-scale operations are conducted with a possible “Taiwan emergency” in mind, aiming to keep China in check, it said. Unlike last year’s exercises, which focused on on-site training, this year’s maneuvers include strategy formulation and command for each
NEVER FORGET: Feb. 28 is a day to demand justice and redress, and remember the long, hard road Taiwanese walked to democracy, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che said President-elect William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he would work to safeguard the nation’s security and democracy to ensure freedom and economic prosperity, and that the tragic events of the 228 Incident “never happen in Taiwan again.” The Incident refers to the indiscriminate killing of a person in a crowd on Feb. 27, 1947, and the gunning down by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government of protesters at a resulting demonstration the next day. It was followed by a brutal crackdown. Estimates of the number of eventual deaths vary from 10,000 to more than 30,000. The Incident was closely followed by the White