By Lauly Li ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Prosecutors yesterday searched the residence of talk show host Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, also known as Little S) and questioned her husband and father-in-law over allegations of gaining profit through insider trading.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office in August investigated an instance of deceptive advertising involving Top Pot Bakery, with the bakery boasting in its advertisements that its bread was made with zero flavoring essence. The ads were found to be inaccurate. Dee Hsu was previously the bakery’s spokeswoman. Prosecutors said that while looking into the case, they discovered an alleged insider trading incident involving Top Pot Bakery’s holding company, Genome International Biomedical Co. Ltd. (GIBC,基因國際生醫股份有限公司). Top Pot Bakery’s main shareholders — Hsu’s husband Mike Hsu (許雅鈞), her father-in-law Hsu Ching-hsiang (許慶祥), the bakery’s current president Hsu Hsun-ping (徐洵平), and his wife Jiang Li-fen (姜麗芬) — were summoned for questioning over the allegations, prosecutors said.
Taipei prosecutors said the four persons of interest allegedly bought a large number of GIBC shares after the firm became Top Pot Bakery’s holding company, and before Dee Hsu endorsed the bakery. GIBC’s stock price rose sharply from NT$59 per share in 2012 to over NT$200 per share in March and April 2013. The rise in share price coincided with GIBC becoming Top Pot Bakery’s holding company. The share price plunged in May. Hsu Hsun-ping and his wife Jiang sold their shares at the highest price, which led prosecutors to suspect that they may have violated the Securities and Exchange Act. Taipei prosecutors said they have been collecting evidence over the past month and obtained eight search warrants, which led them to search the residences of Dee Hsu and Hsu Hsun-ping as well as the offices of GIBC and Top Pot Bakery. A large number of accounting documents have been taken back to the prosecutors’ office for further investigation, prosecutors said. GIBC yesterday announced that it was being investigated by prosecutors on the Market Observation Post System in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Act. Prosecutors said they have not ruled out the possibility of summoning Dee Hsu for questioning.
As of press time, Dee Hsu refused to comment on the incident. Local commentators have cast doubt over the timing of the searches, suggesting it is an attempt to divert attention away from the wiretapping scandal involving Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘). The Taipei District Prosecutors Office yesterday denied such claims.