Independent Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) will have to serve two years and 10 months in prison after the Supreme Court yesterday upheld a lower court ruling that found him guilty of insider trading and stock manipulation in the late 1990s.
However, Fu is to retain his legislator’s status and continue to draw a salary during his time in prison.
The Supreme Court rejected Fu’s appeal in a case that has dragged on for more than two decades because of his repeated appeals.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The High Court in a third retrial found him guilty of contravening the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法), and manipulating the stock prices of three companies.
Though nominally an independent legislator, Fu, a former Hualien County commissioner, is closely aligned with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), despite leaving the party in 2009.
He was a member of the People First Party from 2000 to 2007, while his wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), a KMT member, is the incumbent Hualien County commissioner and had served as a legislator.
The Supreme Court ruling also instructed prosecutors to take measures to prevent Fu from fleeing the country. Police officers accompanied Fu when he went to the Legislative Yuan compound in Taipei for a news briefing after the ruling was announced.
In yesterday’s final ruling, the judges did not suspend Fu’s civil rights, allowing him to maintain his legislative seat.
Fu said his aides and office staff would continue to serve his constituents throughout his imprisonment.
He would not receive any salary while in prison, Fu added.
Central Election Commission Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) confirmed that as the court did not suspend Fu’s civil rights, he is under no obligation to stand down as a legislator.
There would be no by-election as Fu can serve out the rest of his legislative term, Chen added.
Fu told reporters that he respects the ruling and apologized to his supporters, but added: “I will not be knocked down and will deal with the hardships and face the consequences... and I will see everyone again.”
“[Kaohsiung Mayor] Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), you have to fight on your own now, I cannot accompany you in the coming days,” he said as he wrapped up the briefing.
Fu was one of the key pan-blue politicians who strongly supported Han’s presidential bid.
Han is facing a recall vote on June 6.
Prosecutors began to investigate Fu’s case in 1998, when he was accused of speculating in the stocks of three companies through proxy accounts between 1997 and 1998. He did not hold a public office at the time.
Fu was found guilty of rigging the operations of the local bourse and jeopardizing the interests of investors.
The Taipei District Court in 2003 found him guilty and sentenced him to six years in prison.
In the second trial, the High Court reduced the sentence to three years, which was further cut to two years and 10 months in a third retrial.
The Hualien chapter of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the KMT called on Fu to resign so that a new lawmaker can be elected who can better serve the needs of the county’s residents.
Additional reporting by CNA
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