Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Soong challenges Lee to face-to-face showdown

BITTER RIVALRY The PFP chairman said he would like to prove accusations against him wrong in a confrontation with the former national president

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said he wanted to confront former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) over Lee's accusations that Soong embezzled Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) funds.

"How many times have I wiped Lee's backside? I can't remember. It is very mean of him to say that I was dishonest," Soong said. "I would be more than happy to confront him face to face in court whenever necessary, and I hope that prosecutors can arrange such an investigative hearing as soon as possible."

Soong accused the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) of reopening the case to attack him ahead of next year's presidential election.

"Prosecutors investigated this case for four years and announced the case closed two years ago. It is really unnecessary and stupid to do it again," he said.

Lee responded to Soong's challenge by saying that he would do whatever was asked of him.

"We will talk about it later if prosecutors believe a confrontation is necessary," Lee said. "Let them make the decision."

Lee also accused the media of fabricating stories about him receiving preferential treatment during his interrogation at the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office on Wednesday.

The stories said that the prosecutors' office treated Lee like a VIP, using the recently refurbished interrogation room No. 1 in which to question him and offering him coffee and tea.

Newspapers reported that Lee gave a hand-written statement to prosecutors during the interrogation.

He accused the media of making up the existence of the statement, even though a legislator from his Taiwan Solidarity Union revealed details of his testimony to reporters from a statement, a copy of which she said Lee had given to prosecutors.

"These are not right," Lee said. "I did not drink any coffee and tea. I just drank water, just like ordinary people. And, I did not write down any statement and submit it to prosecutors either."

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