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China Rebar acting chair released on NT$8m bail

Prosecutors keep Wang Ling-mei more than 12 hours for questioning

China Rebar acting chair released on NT$8m bail

The Taipei Public Prosecutor's Office released the acting chairwoman of China Rebar Co. on NT$8 million (US$242,718) bail early yesterday after questioning her for more than 12 hours about the company's illegal transfer of company funds into the accounts of members of the Wang family.
Prosecutors said they set the bail at NT$8 million after finding that Wang Ling-mei (王令楣) played a major role in the hollowing out of China Rebar Co. - one of 70-odd subsidiaries owned by the financially distressed Rebar Asia-Pacific Group.
Wang is a daughter of Taiwanese entrepreneur Wang You-theng (王又曾), founder and owner of Rebar Group who has fled to the United States with his fourth wife Wang Chin Shyh-ying (王金世英).
Wang, daughter of Rebar Asia Pacific Group founder Wang You-theng, was named Acting Asia Pacific Broadband Telecom acting chairperson Thursday after his brother Wang Ling-tai was taken into custody days earlier for alleged illegal transfer of company funds to his family members.
APBT, China Rebar and Chia Hsin are all subsidiaries of the Rebar group.
Wang You-theng and his wife are wanted for questioning about insider trading and embezzlement within the Rebar Group, but they fled Taiwan December 30 - a day after China Rebar Co. and Rebar Group-owned Chia Hsin Food and Synthetic Fiber Co. filed insolvency requests with the Taipei District Court.
Wang Ling-mei was questioned along with Chen Chu-chiu, secretary to China Rebar's vice president, and five department chiefs in charge of the company's finances.
Chen was released on NT$2 million bail, while three accounting officers were discharged on lesser bail figures.
According to the prosecutors, the Wang family hollowed out China Rebar Co. and Chia Hsin Food and Synthetic Fiber Co. in the same manner they did APBT and two other Rebar Group-owned subsidiaries - the Chinese Bank and the stock brokerage firm, the Great Chinese Bills Finance Corp.
The scandal was exposed after the application for insolvency protection by China Rebar and Chia Hsin Food and Synthetic Fiber Co. caused a panicked bank run on the Chinese Bank in early January. The bank's customers withdrew more than NT$33 billion (US$1 billion) from the bank, prompting a government takeover to allay public fears.
The two companies became insolvent after suffering losses totaling NT$25.2 billion over the past seven years.
However, according to initial estimates, the total losses caused to the national coffers and investors by the Wang family's systematic hollowing out of the Rebar Group-owned subsidiaries could amount to NT$300 billion - about one-fourth of Taiwan's annual tax revenues.
As of January 27, 26 Rebar Group employees, including many of Wang You-theng's adult children in executive positions, had been charged with embezzlement, granting illegal bad loans or insider trading.
As the investigation into the scandal continues, the Taipei Prosecutor's Office has banned 83 defendants and suspects from leaving Taiwan.