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Academia Sinica President charged with corruption

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:15 pm    Post subject: Academia Sinica President charged with corruption Reply with quote

Facing charges of corruption and breach of trust, Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huei (翁啟惠) was barred from leaving the country by the Shilin District Prosecutors Office on Thursday.

Prosecutors charged Wong with involvement in corruption, and breach of trust after re-summoning him early Thursday morning, though they said they believed it was unnecessary to detain him. Wong was released without bail.

Leaving the prosecutors office early Thursday morning, Wong was seen with a grave expression, according to local media. He did not make any comments to reporters at the scene.

The prosecutors office held hearings for 11 people on April 20, including Wong and Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), chairman of Ruentex Financial Group (潤泰集團). Ruentex Group is a major shareholder in OBI Pharma.

Wong was first summoned for questioning at the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau Taipei Division Office then taken to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office Wednesday evening for further questioning.

OBI Pharma founder and Chairman Michael Chang (張念慈), charged with breach of trust under the Criminal Code (刑法), was released on NT$1 million bail and faces travel restrictions.

Chang Hui-fen (張穗芬), head of the firm's finance division, was released on NT$500,000 bail on the same charges.

Wong, a prominent biochemist, was embroiled in controversy since March after allegedly conducting insider trading in shares of pharmaceutical firm OBI Pharma, guided by his forehand knowledge of the firm's experimental breast cancer treatment's test results. Announcement of the failed test results in February later led to a tumble in OBI Pharma's stock shares.

On Wednesday, the Investigation Bureau's Taipei City Field Office, under Shilin Prosecutors Office's instructions, made seven separate raids across the Greater Taipei area at locations such as Wong's office at Academia Sinica, his gene research center, his residency and Ruentex Financial's subsidiaries, seizing documents related to the case.

Wong and his wife were also summoned by prosecutors for questioning on April 20. Eight witnesses were also summoned to give evidence on the case, including Wong's wife Liu Yieng-lii (劉映理), Samuel Yin and Academia Sinica Associate Research Fellow Wu Chung-yi (吳宗益).

The case marks the first time in which the head of Taiwan's highest academic institution, which is under the jurisdiction of the president, has been accused of a crime and subjected to searches.

Wong and Ma to Meet, Again

When asked to comment on Wong's charges, Premier Simon Chang stated that Wong and President Ma Ying-jeou will meet again, though he wasn't sure of the exact time and date.

Making his remarks at a Harvard Business Review press conference revealing its list of Taiwan's top 50 CEOs, Chang deflected questions posed by reporters, who asked him to comment on whether Wong should step down as head of Academia Sinica.

"He serves at the pleasure of the president," Chang said, "(I) believe President Ma will come to a suitable decision."

As for questions regarding Wong's other position as the Executive Yuan's technology consultant, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that the Cabinet has yet to discuss Wong's qualifications as before May 20, there are no technology-related meetings at the Executive Yuan.

And this is the guy that runs the highest academic institution in Taiwan. Go figure.
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