Taiwan's Formosa Plastics scion wishes to retrieve, donate hidden assets

Winston Wong seeks to enlist government's help in recovering overseas assets

Winston Wong (Formosa TV News Network screenshot)

Winston Wong (Formosa TV News Network screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The son of a Taiwanese businessman has been tracing assets valued at as much as NT$600 billion (US$20 billion), which his late father and uncle had left in foreign countries to avoid taxes, declaring that he would like to see the government help retrieve them for the benefit of the public's welfare.

Winston Wong (王文洋), son of Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) founder Wang Yung-ching (王永慶) and nephew of Wang Yung-tsai (王永在), after years of chasing down the hidden assets, recently expressed his wish in a video for the government's help. He has said that he will donate the recovered money after deductions are made for legal expenses incurred during the asset recovery process.

In the video broadcast by Formosa TV News Network, Wong said, "This money was made by them [his father and uncle], so their wish should be respected. It's not about me trying to fight for an inheritance. Honestly speaking, I lead a simple life, so I don't really need it."

"But if we win the legal battle, according to Taiwan's laws regarding distribution, the government will get most of the assets. After deducting for legal expenses spent on related cases, I will donate all of it."

"I personally have an inclination," he continued, "that there is still a small amount of fairness and justice in this world. I understand these two oldsters' propensities. They liked to control everything, especially anything related to their assets."

He mentioned that all the foreign letters of trust were in English and that the two deceased businessmen were totally ignorant of that language, so all the letters of trust would have gone against their wishes. In the video, Wong also said that he has become exhausted with his quest.

The NT$600 billion family assets stuck in foreign countries have also led to the exposure of the tax evasion tactics practiced by the Formosa Plastics Group.

A secret conversation from 11 years ago between Wingston Wong and Hung Wen-hsiung (洪文雄), a senior company treasurer, has recently come to light. The conversation exposed that Hung told Wong everything about the overseas trusts and that Wong's father's tremendous overseas assets were the results of the Formosa Plastics group habitually evading taxes.

Reports said that before founding Formosa Plastics, Wang Yung-ching established a brick factory. During that time, he would use employees and relatives as nominal stockholders to evade as much as 60 percent of income taxes.

After the founding of Formosa Plastics, in order to avoid paying the 40 percent income tax, the late tycoon would use foreign companies registered in Liberia to purchase his company's stock so as to reduce his taxes by half. The billionaire would then use the money saved to buy more stocks from the group to make more money, which he would then use to invest in businesses in the United States or China.