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Court upholds Taiwan tycoon’s sentence in tainted oil case

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A court has upheld a nine-year prison term for one of Taiwan’s richest businesspeople on charges of selling tainted cooking oil.

Wei Ying-chung, former chairman of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co., will go to prison for a third time in two cases involving adulterated oil following Friday’s ruling by Taiwan’s Supreme Court.

Wei, 65, was convicted of importing lard in 2014 meant for use in animal feed from Vietnam and selling it to food manufacturers.

Wei “abandoned the social responsibility of the corporation” and “severely undermined food safety,” the Supreme Court ruling said. It left Wei with no more opportunities to appeal.

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Wei, along with his three brothers, ranked No. 7 last year on Forbes magazine’s list of Taiwan’s richest people with a total fortune of $6.4 billion.

In an earlier case, Wei was sentenced to prison in 2016 over adulterated olive oil sold by Wei Chuan Foods Corp., a unit of Ting Hsin.

Wei was convicted of telling employees in 2012-13 to mix the oil with products containing a coloring agent that is banned from use in food.

Wei was released in December 2018 after he posted bail of 300 million New Taiwan dollars ($10 million) and his brother pledged an additional 1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($33 million).

Wei went to prison a second time in January 2020 on a separate set of charges connected to the imports from Vietnam and was released 12 months later.

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