Photo: Information Week
Winni Jiau, the ex-Primary Global consultant who was arrested on charges of insider trading back in December, will not be released on bail as originally thought because the court believes she was making plans to flee to Taiwan, according to Bloomberg.U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson reversed a decision made last week that would have allowed Jiau to go free on $500,000 bail, instead ordering she be held in prison because recorded jailhouse calls suggest she was planning to bolt.
In taped conversations with her friend Terry Peng, Jiau allegedly spoke in code about plans to leave the States that were “unmistakably clear.”
When she was arrested in December, federal agents found packed suitcases in her home and were convinced this suggested she was primed to flee. She said that the luggage was from a recent trip to Asia, though her last trip to Taiwan — where she holds citizenship — had been in October.
In a letter that prosecutors sent to the court, there are excerpts of jailhouse conversations Jiau had with Peng. She allegedly said in Mandarin, “Originally, I was already planning to leave,” and told him to liquidate her bank account by transferring the $25,000 in funds that was in there, to her brokerage account, then withdrawing the funds in cash.
Prosecutors also think Peng may have destroyed letters that Jiau sent to him.
According to Bloomberg,
Prosecutors… discovered assets that Jiau failed to disclose to court officials after she was apprehended. Two days after her arrest… Jiau talked to Peng and instructed him to “enter her apartment to take possession of about $20,000 in cash which Jiau was hiding in her bedroom.”
Jiau directed Peng… to ask her California defence lawyer not to hand over her U.S. and Taiwanese passports to the government and to instead turn them over to her New York lawyer.
“Far from innocent conduct, these conversations beg several questions that make her intention to flee inescapable,” the U.S. said in its letter. “Why would Jiau hide nearly $20,000 in cash in her residence? Why didn’t Jiau disclose the hidden assets” to the court? “And why would Jiau instruct Peng to liquidate her bank accounts if she intends to remain in the United States to fight the charges against her?”
Apparently Peng remained tight-lipped when the feds questioned his involvement with Jiau, and denied taking the money from her California home.
Jiau was the seventh person, and the first woman, to be arrested on insider trading charges in the FBI’s sweeping investigation. Like those arrested before her – Don Chu, James Fleishman, Walter Shimoon – Jiau worked in some capacity for expert network Primary Global Research, at the time when she allegedly passed on material, non-public information to portfolio managers that they then traded on.
She was paid $200,000 for her services according to the FBI’s complaint.
Her next court date in March 9.