(AFP) – Mar 24, 2010
TAIPEI — Taiwan's high court Wednesday warned the former head of United Microelectronics Corp. he risks being arrested after shouting at the judges and walking out of his trial for illegal investment.
Robert Tsao, one of the island's most successful businessmen, on Tuesday accused the bench of violating the constitution by trying him, before storming out of the court, local media reported.
But in a statement the court warned him: "The court can make a ruling without hearing a defendant who is absent without valid reasons, and it can arrest a defendant who fails to attend court.
"The defendant should follow the rules of the court and the judges' order to avoid affecting his rights."
Tsao was indicted in 2006 for breach of trust and violation of accounting rules over an investment by UMC in China-based chip maker Hejian Technology.
UMC obtained 15 percent of Hejian in a 2005 deal valued at 3.5 billion Taiwan dollars (109 million US), which analysts believe was mostly paid in kind via a continuous transfer of valuable technologies.
The island's authorities insisted the investment was illegal because it was done without prior approval but UMC, the world's second biggest contract microchip maker, said it informed the government about the transaction.
He was cleared by a district court the following year due to insufficient evidence and the High Court initially upheld the ruling, but the Supreme Court ordered a new trial in December 2009.
"I have been found not guilty but they keep going after me ... (the court) violates the law and the constitution," Tsao told the TVBS cable news channel.
UMC makes cutting-edge microchips, and the technology is highly prized and safeguarded in Taiwan where many are concerned about being overtaken technologically by the fast-growing mainland.
Tsao stepped down as chairman the day he was indicted in an apparent bid to ease the impact on UMC.
UMC had described the indictment as of "purely political nature" caused by tensions at the time between Taiwan and China.
However, ties have improved since the island's Beijing-friendly government came to power in 2008 and has since relaxed controls, including on high-tech firms, to invest in China.
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