Taipei court holds tycoon for failure to pay bank debts

The China Post staff

Taipei district court detained business tycoon, Emilia Roxas, who had failed to make any payments on nearly NT$960 million in debts to two local banks, yesterday before she finally made a partial payment on the outstanding loans.

Roxas is the president of the Asiaworld business group, which owns Asiaworld Department Store on Chunghsiao W. Rd., Asiaworld Shopping Mall on Nanking E. Rd., as well as a couple of investment and construction companies in Taiwan. Roxas, who borrowed some NT$560 million from the Asia Pacific Bank and nearly NTS400 million from the Chung Shing Bank, was accused by the two creditors of failing to make payments on the loans. Roxas made a statement in the district court yesterday morning, explaining why she failed to pay up the debt. Roxas, however, was extremely amazed when Judge Cheng Li-yen decided to detain her on the grounds that she had not only failed to make payments on the loans but also offered false documents to the court. The judge said the accused would not be released unless she would agree to pay on part of the debt. A court seldom detains a debtor who fails to pay debt money. In accordance with the domestic civil procedures, a court has the right to detain those who are capable to pay the debt to their creditors but refuse to do so. The tycoon’s lawyer Chou Tsan-hsiung and several of her aides soon raised some NT$3.5 million in cash and returned to the court at around 3:00 p.m. yesterday. Officials with the court immediately counted the huge amount of bills, which had drawn the attention of reporters and citizens in the court. Both the judge and Roxas later returned to the courtroom before the judge decided to release Roxas at around 615 p.m. yesterday. Roxas, who immediately left the court building, refused to answer the reporters’ questions. Roxas is the daughter of Tan Yu, who served as the president of the Asiaworld business group between 1950 and 1983. Roxas told reporters before she entered the courtroom yesterday morning that her business group currently owes some NT$25 billion to its creditors, including the local banks. Local media reports say the group lost a huge amount of money after being unsuccessful in investing in real estate. “We have been negotiating with the banks, and the atmosphere of the talks was pretty good,” Roxas said, adding that she would do whatever she could to pay up the debt.