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June 23, 2017

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Taipei 101 chair held on charges of embezzling NT$600 million

The China Post--Authorities yesterday detained Taipei 101 Chairman and President Harace Lin (林鴻明) on a charge of embezzling NT$600 million in a land deal in 1999.

Lin is accused of using Jin Shang Chang Development Co., Ltd. (金尚昌開發公司) to take out a NT$1.8 billion loan from the China United Trust & Investment Corp. (中聯信託), a small financial services company.

Jin Shang Chang allegedly used about 80 plots of land in New Taipei's Tamsui District (淡水區) as collateral for the loan.

Prosecutors suspect that Lin deliberately defaulted on the loan and used another company to buy back the land at NT$1.2 billion, pocketing NT$600 million in the process.

Lin, who denied the charges during questioning, is set to appear in court today. The Taipei District Court (北地方法院) yesterday ruled to hold him in detention incommunicado, citing the severity of the suspected crime and a string of evidence implicating Lin's involvement.

The alleged act is a criminal breach of trust that violates Taiwan's Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法). The crime carries a prison sentence of five years or more, according to the Taipei District Court.

On Sept. 20, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office (台北地檢署) questioned Lin's co-defendants, including Chief Financial Officer Dong Cui-hua (董翠華) and CEO Chen Chi-tsang (陳祈蒼) of Jin Shang Chang Development Co., Ltd.

A second round of questioning on Wednesday yielded evidence that is "unfavorable" toward Lin and implicates him as a key figure in the illicit land deal, according to prosecutors.

The case is reportedly not directly linked to Lin's role as chairman and president of Taipei 101, a position he has held since 2009. Lin is also vice chairman of the Hung Kuo Group (宏國建設), a prominent local construction company.

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