Tycoon freed on bail, Taoyuan County official detained

Prosecutors to appeal against bail for Farglory chairman

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutors appealed against the release on bail of NT$5 million (US$166,000) of Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung Saturday, while former Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Ye Shi-wen was ordered detained in the case of alleged corruption.
Ye was accused of accepting NT$18 million (US$600,000) from Chao in order to help his real estate group win the contract for apartments in Pateh, Taoyuan County. Ye chaired the evaluation commission in charge of the bid.
After the news broke Friday that investigators had raided up to 20 offices and homes in connection with the case, Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu ordered Ye’s dismissal.
After overnight questioning, the Taipei District Court agreed with the prosecutors’ request to keep Ye and former architecture professor Tsai Jen-hui, who was accused of having acted as an intermediary in the deal, detained but it allowed Chao and senior Farglory executive Wei Chun-hsiung to go free. Bail for Wei was set at NT$1 million (US$33,000), reports said. Two other Farglory managers and Ye’s woman friend were also released on bail, reports said.
Prosecutors said they were likely to file appeals with the Taiwan High Court against the bail set for the Farglory executives because there was a risk they might collude in the case.
Chao, who has been barred from traveling overseas, reportedly denied the allegations against him. The 70-year-old businessman is one of Taiwan’s most prominent real estate tycoons, often interviewed by the media and sometimes appearing in television commercials for his own projects. He featured as the 12th wealthiest person in Taiwan on a list for 2012 compiled by Forbes Magazine, reports said.
Wei admitted that as deputy chief of Farglory’s development arm, he knew Ye, but insisted that his dealings with the official were completely legal.
Ye only joined the Taoyuan County Government a year ago after stints as manager of several well-known national parks and as head of the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency.
He was unable to explain to prosecutors what more than NT$10 million in cash was doing at his home and office, reports said.
According to media reports, Chao and Wei personally gave the order that Ye should receive NT$16 million (US$532,000) before Monday’s Dragon Boat Festival. When Tsai showed up at Farglory with a backpack, he found out there was not enough space for the money, so he went out and bought a larger piece of luggage before returning, reports said. Investigators already looking into the case reportedly witnessed how Tsai handed the money over to Ye, who took it home with him. That was when prosecutors made the decision to raid Ye’s home Friday, reports said.