Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 1 News List

TSU says Lee has nothing to hide

SECRET FUNDS Refusing to comment publicly, Lee Teng-hui told TSU confidants that the national security funds he ordered set up were for Taiwan's welfare, not his own

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

TSU legislator Lo Chih-ming, left, yesterday said that former president Lee Teng-hui in a meeting with TSU party Chairman Huang Chu-wen emphasized that the funds in the secret accounts at the National Security Bureau had been used to protect national security.


Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said he felt no qualms about allegations concerning secret accounts that he had set up at the National Security Bureau (NSB), because he was trying to maintain Taiwan's international status, according to TSU lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the PFP and the TSU traded accusations in the wake of the disclosure as the TSU claimed PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was the mastermind behind the revelation.

PFP lawmakers, however, dubbed the allegation as "illogical and unprofessional."

Declining to comment in public, Lee spoke with TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) Wednesday after reports in the China Times and Next magazine accused him of illegally using national funds.

"In the face of China's oppression, it is impossible to promote Taiwan's diplomacy in a practical way without the use of secret accounts," Lee was quoted as saying.

"All of the money in the slush fund was used for the country's benefit. I never put one cent into my own pocket. The media should not equate the secret accounts with my personal funds."

The reports cited information believed to have been provided by the NSB's former chief cashier, Colonel Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), who is wanted by authorities for allegedly embezzling NT$192 million.

They claimed that two secret accounts, holding a combined value of NT$3.5 billion, were not subject to legislative monitoring and had in essence become Lee's "private stash" during his presidency.

Lee used the funds to strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic ties, engage in "under-the-table" research on international affairs and send presents to his subordinates, the reports said.

In 1994, the former president agreed to donate US$11 million to South Africa's heavily indebted African National Congress to sustain Taipei-Pretoria ties, according to the reports.

TSU lawmakers yesterday continued to go to bat for Lee, whom they consider their spiritual leader. They said that Soong had manipulated the entire incident to take revenge on Lee, and called on the PFP chairman to stop destabilizing Taiwan's politics.

Once Lee's closest aide, Soong and the former president parted ways after Lee backed Lien Chan (連戰) to run on his ticket in the 2000 presidential election. In addition, it is widely believed that Soong is convinced that Lee was responsible for implicating him in the Chung Hsing Bills Finance Case (興票案).

Hsu Den-koun (許登宮), the TSU's legislative whip, said that rumor has it that Soong had been in touch with the fugitive Liu during a recent trip to the US.

While the China Times and Next magazine have admitted to receiving copies of the secret documents, local media reports said PFP lawmakers were also in possession of the secret information.

TSU lawmakers demanded the PFP explain how they obtained the information and name its source.

They said what the media and the PFP have done is to undermine Taiwan's diplomatic ties with other countries and put the lives of intelligence agents at risk.

PFP legislative Diane Lee (李慶安) said the allegations were "ungrounded and unprofessional," and urged the TSU not to make attacks just to "protect their mentor."

PFP lawmakers said that it is the TSU's usual practice to put all the blame on Soong whenever Lee runs into trouble.

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