An Accell Group accountant has been indicted on suspicion of embezzling NT$230 million (US$7.19 million) from the company’s accounts over the past four years and spending it on luxury goods.
According to a report in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, a woman named Liu Fang-ting (劉方婷) worked at the group’s Taiwan branch as an accountant and cashier.
In January, the company announced it had a financial “hole” after checking its accounts following complaints that it had not made several payments, the report said.
The company, registered in the Netherlands, is reported to be the largest bicycle manufacturer in Europe and owns about 20 high-end brands that are sold throughout Europe and the US.
Liu turned herself in after police began an investigation, claiming that she had spent all of the money skimmed from the company accounts on high-end luxury goods, the report said.
Following inquiries with more than 10 Internet sellers of boutique items, police said Liu allegedly spent the money on luxury items, with Hermes branded goods being her main target, according to the report.
Liu allegedly used the funds to buy department store vouchers, using them to purchase other brand-name items from Cartier, Mikimoto and Loewe, the report said, adding that records showed Liu purchased more than 800 high-end luxury items.
Liu allegedly bought at least six of Hermes’ Birkin-range bags online, each priced at NT$1.7 million to NT$2 million, sellers contacted by the Apple Daily were quoted as saying, adding that if any seller advertised their items as “limited” or “rare,” Liu would not hesitate to buy them, many times not even bothering to haggle.
Liu’s penchant for collecting luxury items caused arguments with her husband, who works abroad, the report said, adding that Liu’s husband was unaware of where the money had come from.
Liu told police during questioning that she was trying to emulate Chen Kaiyun (陳凱韻), Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau’s (劉鑾雄) girlfriend, who has been photographed carrying Hermes bags, the report said.
Liu was indicted on charges of embezzlement and forgery, and was released on bail of NT$200,000.
The case is to go to trial on Friday next week.
Accell Group said it was “greatly disappointed” to hear of Liu’s alleged actions, adding that it would bolster its internal management procedures, the report said.
The incident would not affect the group’s ability to make a profit, it said.
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