Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 1 News List

More Chung Hsing Bills revelations on the way

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal, which derailed PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) previous presidential bid, is by no means dead and buried, TSU lawmakers said yesterday.

As Soong wraps up a deal with the KMT on the joint presidential ticket between the two parties, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) is set to reveal a torrent of damaging information once Soong's candidacy, either for president or vice president, is formally declared, the lawmakers said.

The revelations will ruin Soong's political aspirations once and for all, the lawmakers predicted.

Yesterday's remarks came on the heals of a reminder by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Wednesday that the Chung Hsing Bills Finance case remained open.

While prosecutors decided in 2001 that there was insufficient evidence to indict Soong, new evidence may come to light allowing the case to go forward.

Although the KMT has said that its accusations against Soong were all the result of a "misunderstanding," it is not up to the KMT alone to decide whether the case is open or closed.

The uproar surfaced in 1999 when the KMT pressed embezzlement and other criminal suits against Soong, saying he pocketed vast sums of party funds in his capacity as KMT secretary-general in the early 1990's.

After prosecutors decided not to indict Soong two years ago, two lawyers representing the KMT asked to reopen the case, noting that investigators passed over key evidence and witnesses during their year-long probe.

Soong has said the money he is alleged to have bilked the KMT of, which was found in his son's account in the KMT-owned Chung Hsing Bills Co, was put in his charge by then-president and party chairman Lee to carry out covert party missions. Lee has derided Soong's claim as an outright lie.

Seeking to defend Soong, PFP legislators interpreted Chen's comments yesterday as a veiled order for judicial officials to look unfavorably on Soong's alleged financial misdeeds.

PFP legislative leader Chiu Yi (邱毅) directed his rage at Chen, saying his Wednesday statement stemmed from a selfish desire to tarnish Soong's reputation in the run-up to next year's presidential polls.

"The decision not to indict stays valid unless prosecutors rule otherwise," Chiu said. "The president has no right to abuse his power by making remarks that may influence the investigation."

DPP legislative whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that the matter, in light of its nature as a criminal case, is not something that can be privately settled between the parties involved -- Soong and the KMT.

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