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Taiwan court finds Chinese businessman, wife not guilty of money laundering

Travel ban stays in force until May

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Archived photo of Chinese businessman Xiang Xin (right) and his wife, Kong Qing.

Archived photo of Chinese businessman Xiang Xin (right) and his wife, Kong Qing. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei District Court on Thursday (Feb. 24) found Chinese businessman Xiang Xin (向心) and his wife Kong Qing (龔青) not guilty of money laundering, but imposed an overseas travel ban for three months.

As appeals against the verdict were still possible, the court decided not to do away with the travel ban altogether, as would be the case in a standard not-guilty verdict, but to impose a three-month ban. Before Thursday’s court decision, Xiang and Kong had faced travel restrictions valid until July, CNA reported.

The CEO of China Innovation Investment Ltd. (CIIL) and his wife, an alternate board member of the company, first gained prominence in Nov. 2019 when they were accused of involvement in spying activities in Taiwan.

Prosecutors alleged that the couple had moved profits from a fraud scheme to Hong Kong before wiring NT$300 million (US$10.68 million) into a bank account in Taiwan to buy luxury property.

The court reached the conclusion that Xiang had been unaware that the money was the result of a scam, and that the price he obtained for company stock at the time had been reasonable and thus did not amount to money laundering. The couple’s money transfers to Taiwan to buy property had not been designed to evade investigations into money laundering, the court ruled, adding that prosecutors had not provided sufficient evidence.

The separate accusations of spying on behalf of China were dismissed by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office last year, though the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office ruled the investigation had not been thorough, ordering the Taipei prosecutors to resume their work on the case last month.