Sun, Jul 15, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

The KMT’s money laundering

Classic money laundering involves turning ill-gotten gains into clean assets.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), including President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), previously acknowledged that the KMT’s tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in assets were essentially ill-gotten and Ma pledged in 2005 to take care of the problem, something he as chairman of the KMT has yet to do.

Unfortunately, Ma’s idea of taking care of ill-gotten gains means selling the assets and using the proceeds for the party’s purposes, not returning the assets to the rightful owners, the Taiwanese. Getting cash for stolen property is not taking care of the problem. Moreover, sales of stolen property are void, given the knowledge of the buyers of the nature of the assets.

Some KMT faithful like to argue the assets rightfully belong to the party, but it is the party’s failure to distinguish between the KMT and the Republic of China that got us here in the first place. For Ma, and for the KMT, “of the people, by the people and for the people” means “we the KMT,” and it always has and always will.

Ma’s handling of the KMT assets appears to be classic money laundering under any definition. All assets should have been placed in trust, sold neutrally for fair value and the proceeds returned to the public treasury.

Having instead apparently given the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in proceeds from these stolen assets to the KMT, Ma and the party may be guilty of money laundering, and they may continue to be guilty of such crimes each and every day those assets remain under the management of the party.

It is not necessary to investigate whether those responsible today were involved in acquiring (or stealing, as it were) the assets in the first place, but only the hiding, management, sale and application of the proceeds of the purportedly stolen property.

Such legal charges and prosecutions against former dictators, their families and cohorts are common after the fall of tyranny, but in Taiwan, the KMT still controls much of the legal apparatus that would be called into action to proceed with such prosecution.

Tyranny for the most part ended with elections, but it continues in some other respects. It is important for the development of Taiwan’s democratic government for this chapter in the nation’s history to be adjudicated and closed, otherwise there will always be questions about whether Taiwan continues to be occupied by the KMT.

The exact disposition of each and every KMT asset and the proceeds must be disclosed in full to the public and a determination made of who is responsible for this alleged laundering of the assets and diverting of the proceeds from the public treasury. That means minutes and notes of meetings, hours of questioning of those involved, reviews of notes, transactions, e-mails and other such evidence. If the facts show that Ma and his KMT cohorts are responsible for directing the disposition and management of these ill-gotten assets, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just as the previous administration was subjected to such scrutiny.

It would be hard for Ma to avoid taking responsibility for the ultimate decision to dispose of any asset and the application of billions of dollars of proceeds.

Why has there been no investigation and indictment to date? Who in Taiwan has the power and neutrality to faithfully and accurately investigate this case? Where is the neutral prosecution? When will justice be done?

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