Wed, Feb 02, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Legislator claims Soong funded his son's US land deals

CALIFORNIA DREAMING Fresh allegations by Lin Ruey-tu have added fuel to the continuing scandal over the Soong family's financial dealings

STAFF WRITER

The storm of controversy involving independent presidential candidate James Soong's (宋楚瑜) finances took another major turn yesterday, with a self-proclaimed corruption-buster alleging Soong is behind several US properties that his son owns.

Independent legislator Lin Ruey-tu (林瑞圖) told reporters yesterday that he has evidence showing Soong's family has bought five pieces of real estate in the US over the past nine years.

Lin said he was certain the family does not own property in Hawaii. But they have bought five houses or apartments in California since 1991 worth a total of US$1.8 million, he said.

Lin said one piece of property was bought in early 1991, another in late 1991 and the others in 1995, 1998 and 1999.

At least one of the houses was initially bought under Soong's own name and later transferred to his son Soong Chen-yuan (宋鎮遠), according to Lin.

Four of the houses are held in the names of the younger Soong (identified as Allen Soong) and daughter-in-law Patricia Wen. The other is held in the names of five people including the son and his wife, Lin said.

Lin said he was not sure whether all five properties are still held in the names of Soong's family members. But so far he has found no information of property sales by the family.

Lin also produced maps and photographs indicating the locations of the apartments. But he refused to disclose the full details yesterday, saying he was still waiting for additional information.

However, San Francisco, Monterey and Cupertino have all been cited by the local media as locations of Soong family property.

Soong's camp said the houses in question are the affair of the younger Soong and had nothing to do with the former provincial governor.

Lin also claimed that all the presidential candidates except Li Ao (李敖) own property abroad.

Lin said he will reveal details of the property owned by the other three before the March election, if the candidates do not disclose them voluntarily.

Soong's spokesperson, Yen Jung-chang (顏榮昌), said he did not know how many houses or apartments the Soong family owns in the US. But Yen said it is only natural that Soong's son owns property in the US, given that he is a US citizen and has been living there for 10 years.

Meanwhile, the KMT and DPP camps lost no time in attacking Soong over Lin's allegations.

KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) and DPP legislator Lin Tsung-nan (林宗男) both asked Soong to drop out of the race.

DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) also questioned whether Soong's family bought the property with some of the more than US$6 million Soong has allegedly remitted to the US.

Meanwhile, Control Yuan member Ma Yi-kung (馬以工) refused to comment on Lin's claims. Ma heads a task force that is investigating Soong's financial dealings. The task force is expected to announce its findings on Feb. 10.

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