By Ted Chen, The China Post

The New Taipei District Prosecutors Office yesterday dispatched 20 officers to raid the office of the Union Insurance Co. (旺旺友聯產險), as part of ongoing investigations into a market manipulation case.

Prosecutors stated that a number of the company’s managers are involved in a market manipulation ring headed by heavyweight trader Huang Ming-song (黃明松), in a case dating back to 2011. Specifically, prosecutors stated that in September 2011, Huang lured Union Insurance Co. investment managers into using company funds. These funds had been contributed by clients via insurance policy payments and were used to purchase All Ring Technology Co. (ARTC, 萬潤) shares. Huang offered large kickbacks.

Huang’s market manipulation ring is known to employ “pump and dump” tactics, liquidating holdings of shares that have surged in price dramatically on account of heavy trading activity by colluding investment managers, leaving the investing public to bear the brunt of the sharp declines of the targeted stocks.

The agreement between the market manipulation ring and Union Insurance Co. was established by a white-glove figure, surnamed Tsai (蔡), who also oversaw the payment of kickbacks to colluding investment managers, according to reports.

As a result, company managers aided Huang’s market manipulation ring in propping up the price of ARTC shares, causing exorbitant losses to Union Insurance Co. while harming the interests of their policy holders. Prosecutors stated that they are still calculating the illegal profits figures for the ring and the losses incurred by Union Insurance Co. and their clients.

Huang’s market manipulation ring is accused of employing similar tactics in a number of related cases, which have also caused high losses for state-run retirement and pension funds. Reports indicate that Huang has also colluded with investment managers of investment trust arms of financial institutions including First Financial Holding (第一金), Shin Kong Financial Holding (新光) and Yuanta Financial Holding (元大). Meanwhile, the company expressed their intent to cooperate fully with prosecutors, while a number of managers who are suspected to be involved in the case were summoned for questioning.

The company confirmed yesterday’s raid by prosecutors, and stated that its ARTC holdings were liquidated in late 2011, incurring insignificant losses.