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July 27, 2017

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Two high-ranking Acer staff detained over probe into insider trading: NTDC

TAIPEI -- Two of nine Acer Inc. employees questioned overnight by investigators were detained Wednesday on allegations of insider trading, according to the New Taipei District Court.

The two detained were identified as Henry Wang, the company's acting spokesman, and a sales representative named Lo Fang-ju on charges of offloading company shares ahead of major announcements.

The other seven, including human resources manager Chen Chiung-yuan, were released on bail.

Wang and Lo were detained to prevent any possibility of collusion with other suspects, according to prosecutors.

Several ranking Acer managers are suspected of avoiding losses of several million new Taiwan dollars by cutting their shares in the company last year ahead of a report that the troubled PC vendor suffered losses of NT$13.12 billion in the third quarter.

The trading also happened shortly before then-Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang announced his resignation Nov. 5.

If the shares were traded with knowledge of the company's losses and change in management, it would constitute a violation of the Securities and Exchange Act.

On Tuesday, New Taipei prosecutors raided Acer's headquarters in New Taipei's Xizhi District on allegations that a manager responsible for Acer's stock investment acted on instructions from his superior to sell shares just before Wang's announcement.

Acer later in the day denied reports of insider trading, saying these reports are untrue. It is cooperating with the investigation.

Once the world's second largest PC maker, Acer reported an after-tax loss of NT$7.63 billion (US$252.6 million), or NT$2.8 per share, in the fourth quarter last year. That includes an unexpected NT$1.3 billion write-off of raw materials inventory that quarter.

Acer shares closed down 1.92 percent at NT$17.85 Wednesday in Taipei.

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