Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Joseph Lyu explains calls from Chao Chien-ming

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Finance Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) said yesterday that he had received two calls from Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law, but stressed that they had nothing to do with the recent Taiwan Development Corp (台灣土地開發) scandal.

Lyu made the clarification after he disclosed in a television interview on Monday night that Chao had called him twice since he took the helm of the ministry in January.

During the interview, Lyu said that Chao made the first call to congratulate him on his new job. Yesterday, Lyu said that Chao's second call was a query about the International Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC, 中國國際商銀) plan to dispose of its shareholding in Waterland Financial Holding Co (國票金控), the nation's smallest financial group by assets.

Lyu said that he told Chao over the phone at the time that, given that ICBC had been privatized, the ministry would respect the lender's decision based on a professional evaluation and rules of corporate governance.

Last night, ICBC also issued a statement, saying the bank's board had never made a decision to dispose of any of its 5.87 percent share in Waterland Financial.

ICBC spokesman Huang Chi-chang (黃淇漳) and head of public relations Chang Yen-shang (張艷珊) said they were not clear if Chao had discussed the matter with the lender's officials.

Chao and his family are suspected of insider trading in Taiwan Development shares.

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