TAIPEI (CNA) — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a ruling by a lower court against independent lawmaker Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁), confirming his conviction for manipulating stock prices in the late 1990s.
Rejecting Fu’s appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the jail term handed down by the Taiwan High Court in February 2019 on charges of repeated stock speculation, bringing an end to litigation that has dragged on for more than 20 years.
The Supreme Court ruling also instructed prosecutors to take measures to ensure Fu does not flee the country.
Prosecutors began to investigate the case in 1998, when Fu was accused of speculating in the stocks of three companies through proxy accounts between 1997 and 1998, at a time when he did not hold public office.
Despite Fu repeatedly claiming his innocence, he was found guilty of rigging the normal operations of the local bourse and jeopardizing the interests of average investors.
Fu received a six year jail term from Taipei District Court in 2003. In the second trial, the Taiwan High Court reduced the sentence to three years, but that was overturned by the Supreme Court, which thereafter handed down a sentence of two years and 10 months in February 2019.
Meanwhile, Central Election Commission Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) said as the court did not suspended Fu’s civil rights he is under no obligation to stand down as a legislator, though he will have to serve out the jail term.
As a result, Fu will continue to receive his lawmaker’s salary while in jail and there will be no by-election to elect a new legislator for his constituency in Hualien County, Chen explained.
Fu is also eligible to return to his duties as a lawmaker once he completes the sentence, if his current term has not ended by that time, Chen said.
The Hualien chapter of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Kuomintang both called on Fu to resign his position so that a new lawmaker can be elected who is better able to serve the needs of Hualien.