Court orders seizure of US$900 million in Lafayette scandal
Jul 21, 2017MedicalComments Off on Court orders seizure of US$900 million in Lafayette scandal
Taipei--The Taipei District Court issued a ruling on Friday ordering the seizure of more than US$900 million in illegal profits in the long-running Lafayette frigate scandal, the largest amount of illicit money ordered seized by a Taiwan court since a new criminal forfeiture law took effect last year.
Of the US$900.14 million in illicit profits, US$487.19 million went to deceased arms broker Andrew Wang (???) in the form of kickbacks, which were deposited in several countries, with most in Switzerland. The additional amount refers to earnings made on the illegal profits, the court determined.
Charges against Wang, wanted for his role as a broker in Taiwan's purchase of Lafayette frigates from France in the 1990s, were dropped after Taiwanese officials based in London confirmed Wang's death in the United Kingdom in 2015.
The now-disbanded Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office filed a request with Taipei District Court to seize Wang's illicit profits on July 1, 2016, after a legal amendment took effect that day, allowing courts to order the confiscation of allegedly illegal profits without a criminal conviction or sentencing.
Before the revision, Taiwanese courts were unable to order the seizure of illegal profits made by fugitives like Wang who fled the country.
After four court hearings, Taipei District Court ruled on Friday that the illicit profits should be seized, paving the way for banks in Switzerland and other countries to release the funds which are currently in frozen bank accounts held by Wang and his family.
Taipei District Court Spokesman Liao Chien-yu (???) said the amount of money ruled to be seized by the court on Friday was the largest since the new forfeiture law took effect and was even "larger than the annual budget of the Judicial Yuan."
Wang family lawyer Song Yao-ming (???) said the family will appeal the court's decision.