For­mer Fox­conn man­ager de­tained in kick­backs probe

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Taipei

A for­mer se­nior man­ager at Tai­wan’s tech­nol­ogy giant Fox­conn has been de­tained in an on­go­ing probe into kick­backs from sup­pli­ers, pros­e­cu­tors said on Thurs­day af­ter re­ports he pock­eted NT$100 mil­lion ($3.33 mil­lion) in bribes.

Liao Wan-cheng was taken into cus­tody late on Wed­nes­day, while three other ex­em­ploy­ees were ques­tioned and re­leased on bail, an of­fi­cial at the Taipei Dis­trict Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice said.

A se­cond man, iden­ti­fied as Hao Hsu-kuang, was also de­tained on Wed­nes­day and is ac­cused of act­ing as a mid­dle­man be­tween the for­mer em­ploy­ees and sup­pli­ers, the of­fi­cial said.

The of­fi­cial told AFP that the five sus­pects could face breach of trust charges, an of­fence pun­ish­able by a min­i­mum seven-year jail term if the amount in ques­tion ex­ceeds NT$100 mil­lion. None of the sus­pects has cur­rently been charged.

The de­ten­tions came af­ter pros­e­cu­tors ques­tioned a dozen peo­ple on Tues­day and raided the ex-em­ploy­ees’ res­i­dences and the of­fices of Fox­conn’s sup­pli­ers.

Tai­wan me­dia re­ported on Wed­nes­day that Liao had al­legedly pock­eted around NT$100 mil­lion from sup­pli­ers by abus­ing his top po­si­tion in a pro­cure­ment com­mit­tee that buys up to NT$50 bil­lion of equip­ment a year, though pros­e­cu­tors are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the amount of the al­leged kick­backs.

Fox­conn has said that the al­leged vi­o­la­tions were limited to the pro­cure­ment of con­sum­ables and ac­ces­sory equip­ment, and that the com­pany alerted the au­thor­i­ties in both Tai­wan and the Chi­nese main­land fol­low­ing an in­ter­nal au­dit.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is the lat­est set­back for the com­pany, which has come un­der the spot­light af­ter sui­cides, la­bor un­rest and the use of un­der­age in­terns at its plants in re­cent years.

The al­le­ga­tions sur­faced af­ter Tai­wan me­dia re­ported last year that a man­ager at Fox­conn — which as­sem­bles prod­ucts for Ap­ple, Sony and Nokia — had been de­tained by po­lice in the south­ern main­land city of Shen­zhen.

The man­ager from Tai­wan al­legedly so­licited and ac­cepted bribes from sup­pli­ers in ex­change for buy­ing their ma­chines and equip­ment for the com­pany, re­ports said, adding that this did not ap­pear to be an iso­lated case.

Fox­conn said at that time it was re­view­ing its ac­qui­si­tion pro­ce­dures and the in­tegrity of man­agers, and that its op­er­a­tions on the main­land had not been af­fected.

Fox­conn, also known as Hon Hai, is the world’s largest maker of com­puter com­po­nents and em­ploys about 1 mil­lion work­ers at its fac­to­ries across China.

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