Thu, Oct 02, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Councilors accuse Ma of cozying up to Fubon

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City councilors accused Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday of having shady connections with Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控).

The councilors accused Ma of planning to sell the city's shares in the company at too low a price, and suggested he had made a deal with the company.

Several councilors claimed they have evidence Ma has been treated in Fubon Financial Holding Co's private club "at least 10 times" and suspect Ma made a deal with the company.

Facing questions from the councilors, Ma said the city government has experienced financial difficulties in recent years thanks to recession and the actions of the central government.

"The city government has been short about NT$110 billion in revenue for the past three years," Ma said. "According to our calculations, the city government still needs about NT$13 billion for next year's budgets, even though we sell government bonds."

Ma said that after discussions with Taipei City Bureau of Finance Director Lee Sush-der (李述德) and other financial experts, the city government decided to sell shares of Fubon to "fill up the financial hole."

"What the city government is doing is changing stock into cash, and then changing cash into municipal construction for Taipei City. I believe all citizens will support us," Ma said.

City councilors accused Ma of planning to sell about 410 million shares of Fubon Financial at an unreasonably low price, NT$32.52, about 10 percent more than the price for which they were purchased.

According to a report released by Ma, the city government sold stocks of TaipeiBank (台北銀行) to Fubon last December because it wanted to privatize the bank. The city government currently holds 15 percent of Fubon's stocks. Its stake in the company would drop to 9 percent after the share sale, according to the report.

DPP City Councilor Lo Chung-shen (羅宗勝) said that, according to his investigation, Ma was treated in August by Fubon president Tsai Ming-chung (蔡明忠) and other high-ranking officials at the company's private club "at least 10 times."

Lo said Ma went to the club accompanied by Liao Lee (廖鯉), a senior counselor at the mayor's office, and former TaipeiBank president Jesse Ding (丁予康) and ate high-priced delicacies.

New Party City Councilor Fei Hung-tai (費鴻泰) said Ma has been treated at another private club of the company's four times. He urged Ma to consider his integrity.

Ma said he went to the clubs only two or three times.

"I just dined with people who made contributions in the merger of TaipeiBank and Fubon Financial Holding Co," Ma said.

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