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Taiwan tycoon and ex-finance minister sentenced to jail in Taipei Dome case

Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung's prison sentence can be appealed

Archived photo of Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung. 

Archived photo of Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Farglory Group founder and Taipei Dome developer Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) was sentenced to seven years in jail Friday (Oct. 28) for five corruption cases, while a former finance minister and a member of the New Taipei City Council also received prison terms.

Work on the 40,000-seat Taipei Dome stadium and shopping complex became a focus of conflict between Farglory and the Taipei City Government in 2014. Work was stopped for several years over safety concerns and legal complications.

Following a five-year review, the Taipei District Court on Friday sentenced Chao, 78, to seven years in prison for cases involving the Taipei Dome, land development in New Taipei City, kickbacks to local politicians and local government officials, and the depletion of funds from Farglory Life Insurance Inc. Prosecutors had requested 24 years in prison for Chao, the Liberty Times reported.

Former Finance Minister Lee Sush-der (李述德) received a nine-year prison sentence for influence peddling and forgery in the Taipei Dome case. This dates back to the time when he served as the Taipei City Government’s finance department chief.

The court gave a 10-year sentence to Chou Sheng-kao (周勝考), a Kuomintang (KMT) member of the New Taipei City Council, for kickbacks related to Farglory development cases in the districts of Tucheng and Xinzhuang. A total of 31 people were indicted in the separate cases, with all verdicts issued Friday subject to appeals.

The legal action against the Farglory tycoon also drew attention for the record levels of bail in his case. At the start of the investigation, a judge set bail at a record NT$550 million ($17 million), a sum which arrived at the court within half an hour, packed inside 17 suitcases, according to the Liberty Times.

Because Chao had to pay frequent visits to hospital, he later requested that the daily frequency of his reports to a local police station be reduced. The court agreed, but only after adding a bail payment of NT$250 million, and requesting each of his two sons pay a NT$100 million guarantee, thus taking the total amount to NT$1 billion.