Wed, Nov 01, 2006 - Page 12 News List

FSC member's world comes crashing down

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Financial Supervisory Commission member Lin Chung-cheng arrives at the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office yesterday for questioning on suspicion of corruption.

PHOTO: CHAN CHAO-YANG, TAIPEI TIMES

With his distinctive moustache and constant grin, Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正), a heavyweight policymaking member of the Financial Supervis-ory Commission, probably never thought that he would become the focus of national attention in such an unflattering way

Investigating claims of corruption, the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office raided Lin's residence as he was brushing his teeth and preparing to go to work on Monday. Lin's office at the commission and another 12 locations across the nation were also raided as part of the investigation.

Lin has been accused of accepting goods -- including a log cabin cabin in Sijhih (汐止) -- from several financial institutions. He was also alleged to have improperly lobbied against or otherwise influenced possible penalties that the commission was considering.

Lin, 52, began working for the financial regulator on the invitation of former chairman Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝) in March last year. He was selected for his expertise in financial and economic matters.

Lin, who is known for his sense of humor, has built up an extensive network in political circles and in the business community from his work as a professor and lawmaker. He also served as the chairman of Era TV (年代電視) and as an outside director of the board of Eastern Broadcasting Co (東森電視台).

He had been reported to have somewhat reduced his participation in social functions after taking up the position with the commission because of its stringent code of conduct.

Prior to taking up the position, Lin served nine years in the legisla-ture. He also worked as the deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and with the party's Justice Alliance (正義連線) faction.

Although he earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Hawaii, Lin's common touch and generous personality helped him to get along with grassroots supporters during elections.

"It is easy to make friends with the grassroot voters. You just need to drink and chat with them, comment on politics and issues in our mother language and promise you can help handle their appeals. Then you can win their support and trust," Lin once told reporters.

Lin has also excelled at invest-ing. He reportedly once had a portfolio exceeding NT$700 million (US$21 million) and reaped profits of over NT$7 million in a single real estate transaction.

He reportedly moved 10 times in the past 15 years and profited from each real estate sale.

His knowledge of investment and networking ability often led reporters to consult with him about the stock market.

Lin's multiple roles and networking also led to disputes and questions about his integrity. He was once suspected of illegally trading in Taiwan High Speed Railway Corp (台灣高鐵) shares.

Lin has been quoted as saying that he wanted to be a farmer and grow fruit on his hillside lot in Neihu after he retired.

Whether he can realize this dream depends on the final results of the current investigation.

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