Su Hui-chen (蘇惠珍), formerly the main shareholder of the Zanadau Development Corp, was yesterday sentenced to eight years in prison by a panel of judges at the Taipei District Court for breach of trust.
The judges ruled that Su had a plotted to embezzle a huge sum of money from a development plan and had seriously hurt the interests of other Zanadau shareholders.
The judges ruled that Su's act had constituted breach of trust, said court spokesman Liu Shou-sung.
The court also handed down an 18-month prison sentence on Yu Chen Yue-ying - former Kaohsiung County Magistrate and senior adviser to the president who resigned in February 2003 after being indicted in the Zanadau case on similar charges as Su.
Su and Yu Chen, along with two other people, were given fixed sentences ranging from five months to 14 years in prison by the Taipei District court yesterday in the Zanadau case.
The problem began in Kaohsiung County in 1994 when Su launched a plan to build the largest shopping mall in southern Taiwan. She invited Yu Chen to establish a development company and invited other people to invest in the shopping mall project. As there were no shopping malls or big department stores in the area at the time, Su claimed, there were enormous profits to be made through the development company, which was officially represented by Yu Chen.
Su first brush with the law occurred when she borrowed over NT$900 million from a Kaohsiung-based bank using dummy endorsers and forging assessments of collateral, according to the 2003 indictment.
As the main Zanadau shareholder, Su then defrauded other shareholders and misappropriated some NT$3 billion from funds collected from other shareholders and obtained in bank loans.
In September 2002, Su accused former Kuomintang official Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) and his aides of bilking her of over NT$1 billion in exchange for Liu's help to secure bank loans worth 10 times that amount. Su claimed that she decided to unveil the scam after Liu failed to make good on the promise.
Both Su and Liu were therefore listed as the key suspects in the Zanadau case, in one of the most notorious financial crimes in Taiwan history.
While the district court handed down its sentence on Su yesterday, a judiciary review of Liu's alleged role in the case continued as prosecutors found other irregularities outside the Zanadau case allegedly involving Lui.
Su cried and protested against yesterday's ruling.
"I know I am wrong, but I should not be given such heavy punishment," she said. She added that she would read the ruling carefully to decide whether or not to file an appeal.
Yu Chen however immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, saying that she had done nothing wrong since she had had no idea about Su's actions at the time.
The court also convicted Hsieh Sheng-fu (謝生富), ex-chairman of Taiwan Fertilizer Co. and a close friend of Liu's, of corruption yesterday, ruling that he took bribes while serving as government-appointed TFC chairman. Hsieh was sentenced to 14 years in prison.