Sat, Jan 03, 2004 - Page 1 News List

DPP steps up pressure on Lien to explain his wealth

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang, who is President Chen Shui-bian's campaign manager, claims that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's personal assets are more than NT$1.34 billion at a press conference yesterday. Su argued that Lien is either a prodigal son or a liar.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday released more details about Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) assets, saying he had concealed many family investments from the public, including NT$1 billion invested in seven companies.

The DPP has claimed that Lien and his father, both formerly civil servants, started their careers from scratch and yet were able to accumulate NT$20 billion thanks to their abuse of office when the KMT ran the country.

Yesterday, the KMT claimed that Lien's wealth amounted to only NT$1.3 billion and went on the offensive, questioning how DPP Chairman Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) could increase his wealth by 125 percent over the past three years.

According to Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is Chen's campaign manager, the NT$20 billion estimate of Lien's wealth was backed by news reports in major news magazines.

In response to Lien's assertion that his wealth, as reported to the Control Yuan, was only NT$1.3 billion, Su said, "This report only includes those assets which are registered under Lien, his wife, Lien Fang Yu (連方瑀), and his youngest daughter, Lien Yung-hsin (連詠心). Assets under the names of Lien's eldest daughter, Lien Hui-hsin (連惠心), and two sons, Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文) and Lien Sheng-wu (連勝武), and the assets belonging to the two foundations and seven investment companies" were not included.

Su added that the boards of Lien's seven associate enterprises consist of Lien's wife and daughter and other relatives and confidants.

"It is impossible to calculate the amount of assets related to these individuals in the enterprises. However, the registered capital assets of these companies is as high as NT$1.02 billion. Therefore, Lien's total assets should amount to over NT2.3 billion," Su said.

Su also suggested that Lien had not been honest in his previous submissions about his wealth. According to Su, Lien once received a fine of NT$300,000 for omitting a loan of NT$36 million to Wu Tse-yuan (伍澤元), a former member of the KMT, in a report.

"Furthermore, in 1999 and 2000, Lien made two major payments, which included the purchase of a NT$50 million house and a NT$200 million donation to the 921 earthquake reconstruction efforts. These two payouts were not listed on Lien's asset reports in those two years," Su said.

As well as stepping up the attacks on Lien, the DPP also defended their leader from counterattacks from the pan-blue camp.

"The KMT claimed that the securities that President Chen owns had increased to NT$63.60 billion in 2002 from NT$18.38 in 2000," Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said. "In reality, the KMT's calculation included NT$48.51 million in campaign fund subsidies, which have been used for social welfare purposes, such as donations to the Ketagalan Academy (凱達格蘭學校)."

Presidential election candidates who get more than 5 percent of the vote are eligible to claim NT$30 for every vote.

According to Chiou, Chen's securities in 2002 were worth only NT$15.09 million, down from NT$18.38 million in 2000.

In response to the KMT's accusation, first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) said that if her and her husband's assets totalled NT$4 billion, as the KMT claimed, Chen would donate the entire amount to the KMT.

Wu has agreed to file a lawsuit next week against the KMT, Chiou said.

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