Taiwanese talkshow host 'Little S' questioned over Top Pot scandal

Taiwanese talkshow host 'Little S' questioned over Top Pot scandal

Talk show host Dee Hsu (stage name Little S) yesterday returned home without facing charges, at least temporarily, after telling prosecutors whether or not she had "anything to hide."

According to media reports, prosecutors want to find out whether she has knowingly lied to consumers and committed fraud.

Hsu was summoned to the Taipei District Public Prosecutors' Office (TDPPO) to testify as a witness in an insider-trading case involving her husband Mike Hsu and father-in-law Hsu Ching-hsiang, as well as in a false advertisement case.

During the session, Hsu signed depositions which could be used against her in future legal proceedings. She could be charged with perjury if her future testimonies do not tally with what said in the depositions.

Hsu was summoned after prosecutors searched Hsu's home and questioned her husband and father-in-law on Oct. 2, over allegations the two men raked in illegal profits from insider trading.

In the other case, Hsu testified in yesterday involves Top Pot Bakery, which boasted in its advertisements that its bread was completely devoid of artificial flavorings. Dee Hsu was once a spokesperson for the bakery chain.

The bakery's use of artificial favouring came to light in August.

Hsu arrived at TDPPO in mid-morning and left in the early afternoon. She did not say much as she left the prosecutors' office, merely thanking the press for their coverage and telling reporters she was in no position to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors said that while looking into the flavoring case, they discovered irregularities that suggested insider trading by Top Pot Bakery's holding company, Genome International Biomedical Co. Ltd. (GIBC).

Top Pot Bakery's main shareholders - Hsu's husband Mike Hsu, her father-in-law Hsu Ching-hsiang, the bakery's current president Hsu Hsun-ping and his wife Jiang Li-fen - have been summoned for questioning over the allegations, prosecutors said.

Taipei prosecutors said the four persons of interest had 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 (S$2.50) 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 a premium, which led prosecutors to suspect that they may have violated the Securities and Exchange Act.

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