Taipei, Aug. 25 (CNA) Jeffrey Koo Jr. (辜仲諒), former deputy chairman of CTBC Financial Holding Co., was acquitted by the Taipei District Court on Friday of embezzling about US$300 million from the financial institution because of the lack of solid evidence.
The court cleared Koo of the charges on the grounds that the overseas accounts of CTBC Financial Holding Co. were actually controlled by Koo's brother-in-law Steven Chen (陳俊哲) rather than Koo after Koo's father Jeffrey Koo Sr. (辜濂松) died in 2012.
It also said the evidence collected failed to prove that Koo intended to embezzle company assets.
Koo, Jeffrey Koo Sr. and other CTBC Financial Holding Co. executives were indicted by the now-dismissed Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office in October 2016 for allegedly embezzling company funds from 2004 to 2007.
Koo was accused of transferring a combined US$300 million from CTBC Financial together with other company officials to overseas accounts controlled by Koo and his father.
CTBC executive Wu Feng-fu (吳豐富), former CTBC Financial Chief Financial Officer Perry Chang (張明田), and other CTBC executives Chang Yu-chen (張友琛), Chang Su-chu (張素珠) and Lee Sheng-kai (李聲凱) were indicted in the case as well but were also found not guilty.
Steven Chen was also among those indicted but he was not acquitted because he has been wanted by the authorities after fleeing to the United States.
Koo was also indicted for improperly using funds from the group's insurance arm CTBC Life Insurance in 2014 and 2015 to purchase real estate assets from Gobo Group (國寶集團) at an unfairly high price, which helped Gobo profit from the deal.
Prosecutors said the move was aimed at securing the support of Gobo Group President Chu Guo-rong (朱國榮) for CTBC Financial's merger to Taiwan Life Insurance.
Chu was one of the major shareholders of Taiwan Life at the time.
Koo, however, was found not guilty because the court said it did not find any irregularities in relevant dealings.
Chu and his assistant Lin Kui-hsin (林桂馨), on the other hand, were sentenced to 12 years and four months and three years and eight months in jail, respectively, for making NT$157 million by trading the shares of Taiwan Life after learning that CTBC Financial was going to buy into Taiwan Life.
Following Koo's acquittal, CTBC Financial announced Sunday that its subsidiaries have not suffered any losses from the transactions brought up by the prosecutors.