Top execs at Taiwan's Apple Sidra axed amid fraud charges

Top execs at Taiwanese maker of Apple Sidra sacked amid fraud charges, food safety violations


(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The chairman and general director of Oceanic Beverage Co., Inc. (大西洋飲料), the maker of Apple Sidra (蘋果西打), were both fired by the board of directors following fines for food safety violations and allegations of financial mismanagement.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday (April 14), the company's board of directors opted to sack general manager Sun Yu-ying (孫幼英) and chairman Chiang Kuo-kuei (江國貴), and have both roles filled by company auditing head Wang Chen-min (王鎮民).

An investigation by the New Taipei District Prosecutor's office found a number of irregularities with real-estate transactions the company had been involved with in 2018 and top executives are suspected of siphoning money for themselves. After a search was carried out and relevant personnel were questioned, Chiang was released on NT$150,000 bail (US$4,800), while Sun was ordered to be held incommunicado without bail, reported CNA.

Prosecutors allege that the company made three real-estate deals totaling NT$640 million in the third quarter of last year. However, an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers Taiwan could not verify the transaction records and payment transfers, reported SETN.

In order to conduct an investigation into the possible fraudulent transactions, the Prosecutor's Office has searched eight locations in the greater Taipei area and questioned 12 suspects and witnesses thus far.

The company was also fined twice last year for a total of NT$2.2 million by the New Taipei City Department of Health, after contaminants were found in bottles of its popular soft drink Apple Sidra.

The first fine of NT$1 million was issued in November of last year for violating article 7 (5) of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), which relates to management and monitoring of food quality. The second fine of NT$1.2 million was issued in December for breaking article 15 (1) of the law, which relates to the distribution of spoiled food.