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September 24, 2017

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Ex-Yuanta chiefs get time in jail for breach of trust

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Supreme Court yesterday handed down final verdicts of seven years and four months in prison to two former top executives at a leading financial holding company in Taiwan, after they were found guilty of breach of trust charges and violating the Securities Exchange Act (證券交易法).

Former Yuanta Financial Holding Co. (元大金控) Chairman Rudy Ma (馬志玲) and his wife, former Yuanta Securities Co. (元大證券) Chairwoman Judy Tu (杜麗莊), were sentenced by the court for profiting from irregular trading, said in the verdict. The irregularities involved the sale of shares from Yuanta Investment Trust (元大投信) to Yuanta Securities in 2005.

The couple made estimated profits of NT$3.4 billion from the trading, said in the verdict.

The Supreme Court ruled that the couple had caused significant losses to the securities company and to its shareholders and thus should take responsibility by serving prison terms.

Ma and Tu were indicted by Taipei prosecutors in 2009 for alleged involvement in irregular trading. Prosecutors originally asked for a sentence of 10 years.

During the years-long trial, Ma's attorney originally claimed that the 74-year-old had been suffering from dementia for years, implying that he could not remember what he did in 2005.

However, the Supreme Court said in yesterday's verdict that doctors at National Taiwan University Hospital deemed Ma's mental status to be in relatively good condition despite dementia as he could answer the judge's questions.

The founder of Yuanta Financial Holding Co., Ma is one of the richest men in Taiwan.

He was ranked No. 33 on the Forbes list of Taiwan's richest people in 2010.

Following the final verdicts, Taipei District Prosecutors Office reportedly said yesterday that it could bar the couple from leaving the country in case the two attempt to flee overseas to avoid jail terms.

Asked to comment, Yuanta Holding Co. (元大金控) spokesman Chuang Yu-de (莊有德) yesterday said that Ma had long ago resigned from his post at the company. The ruling will have little effect on the company, he noted.

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