Former Tatung Co (大同集團) chairman Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山) will have to serve eight years in prison for embezzlement and incurring company debt of NT$1.7 billion (US$53.8 million at the current exchange rate) after the Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected his appeal of a lower-court ruling.
After the Supreme Court announcement, Lin on Wednesday night issued a statement that said the ruling came as disappointing news and that he cannot accept the decision.
Along with the prison sentence, Lin also has to pay a fine of NT$300 million and was ordered to return NT$1.35 billion in illegal gains to the company.
Photo: Lee Ching-hui, Taipei Times
It was the final ruling on the case.
Lin, 73, was found guilty of embezzling corporate funds and for aggravated breach of trust under the Securities Exchange Act (證券交易法) and handed an eight-year prison sentence at a trial in August 2017.
Tatung Co has been the most famous Taiwanese household appliance brand for more than a century.
It was founded in 1918 and millions of Taiwanese have grown up using Tatung rice cookers, televisions, electric fans and other products known for their durability and reliability.
The firm also exported to other Asian and global markets.
Investigators found that when Lin was general manager of Tatung Co in 2000, he funneled money into Nature Worldwide Technology Corp (通達國際公司), a company headed by a female acquaintance, Chou Yun-nan (周雲楠), that produced personal computers, Unix portable servers and workstations.
When Chou ran into difficulties and her firm became debt-ridden, Lin made a personal investment in the company using NT$180 million from Tatung subsidiary Shan Chih Asset Development Co (尚志資產開發).
In 2007, Lin instructed another Tatung subsidiary, Shan Chih International Holding Co (尚志投資), to acquire Nature Worldwide Technology through an illegal buy-out to save the company from going bankrupt.
Tatung incurred debt of NT$1.7 billion due to Lin’s actions because its subsidiary was obliged to pay the debts owed by Nature Worldwide Technology after it acquired it in 2007.
The investigation found that Lin also served as the guarantor for NT$1.9 billion of bank loans taken out by Chou’s company to help clear its debts.
After the acquisition, Nature Worldwide Technology was dissolved in 2010.
The accusations of illegal asset transfers and financial irregularities prompted the Securities and Futures Investors Protection Center to file a class-action lawsuit against Lin.
The litigation charged Lin with breach of trust, violating the duties of his office as chairman of Tatung Co, while Chou was indicted.
In the first ruling, the New Taipei City District Court in June 2012 found both defendants guilty and sentenced them to four years and six months in prison for misappropriating company assets and creating fake transactions that resulted in losses to investors.
The Taiwan High Court in a second ruling handed Lin an eight-year prison sentence, along with a fine of NT$300 million in August 2014.
Additional reporter by CNA
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