Stories of international espionage appeal to the masses and movies like the famed James Bond series have always done well at the box office. The story of American computer specialist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee Edward Snowden who was a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor shocked the world with his disclosures of top secret NSA documents of spying on citizens and governments. Today we're getting word from a Taiwanese report that six Foxconn employees have been detained by the Prosecutors Office. Most interesting is the fact that one of the executives detained in this case was in charge of Apple's iPad production.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office has begun taking legal action against a group of former employees and suppliers of Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn Electronics) alleged to have taken bribes.
Police and law-enforcement officials on January 21 raided the offices and residences of the suspects for further information after probing into the case for nearly one year, said the Prosecutors Office.
Previous reports indicated that Foxconn's former senior executives and employees of its surface mount technology (SMT) technology committee, which is responsible for the company's procurement of related equipment and materials, had engaged in collective corruption.
A Chinese-language Liberty Times report indicated that kickbacks could have topped over NT$1 billion (US$33.1 million) in 2012 given that Foxconn as a whole purchases over several tens of billions worth of equipment and materials a year.
Six suspects, including three former employees and three suppliers, were summoned for questioning yesterday. The three former employees are Foxconn engineering department manager Yu Chi-an, manager and secretary-general of the SMT technology committee Deng Chih-hsien and senior iPad production manager Chen Chih-chuan.
Deng had previously been detained by the judicial authority of Shenzhen, China after Foxconn uncovered possible wrongdoing and shared the information with the authorities in China in September 2013.
The apprehended Deng was escorted back to Taiwan recently, facilitating the Prosecutors Office in speeding up its probe into the alleged bribery case.
Foxconn has issued a statement saying that it will fully cooperate with law-enforcement in the ongoing investigation, but it will not make any comment since the case has entered the judicial procedure.
The Foxconn statement further added that the "integrity of our employees and suppliers is something we take very seriously... The discovery that a small group of employees and suppliers violated our code of conduct is very disappointing."
It's unknown at this time if Chen Chih-chuan was involved in selling information about the specifics of Apple's iPad manufacturing equipment to competing manufactures. I'm sure that many competitors would love to know the details of such machinery. At the moment, there are more questions on this matter than there are answers.
If and when new significant details are made available, we'll add it to today's report or issue a new report if the findings are substantial.