Thu, Feb 12, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Pan-green camp counters accusations with lawsuits


Pan-green officials threatened a raft of lawsuits yesterday in the face of allegations they call baseless.

The Presidential Office said yesterday it would file a lawsuit today against People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) if they fail to produce evidence to back up their claims the office is a center for "black gold" politics.

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), meanwhile, said he would sue Business Weekly (商業周刊) for what he called a false and exaggerated report on an increase in the value of his properties and Lee Chuan-chiao for falsely accusing him of interfering with the management of Pacific Sogo Department Store.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) also said yesterday that he would file a suit against PFP Legislator Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) today after Lee Tung-hao accused him, without evidence, of attempting to purchase Tuntex Petrochemicals Inc shares, which are being used as collateral at First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), at an unreasonably low price.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said yesterday that Soong called the Presidential Office a center for "black gold" on Feb. 2.

Chiou said Lee Chuan-chiao made the same statement two days ago when accusing the Presidential Office of striking a deal under the table with the head of the Pacific Group, Chang Min-chiang (章民強), to aid the former head of the struggling Pacific Sogo.

"Politicians from the opposition parties have been making false accusations without any evidence, and they are making more accusations based on the previous ones," Chiou said yesterday.

"If there is any evidence to prove the accusations, the Presidential Office is absolutely willing to take criticism and be penalized by the law. The accusing side should be responsible for offering evidence," he said.

"We ask Mr. James Soong and Mr. Lee Chuan-chiao to provide concrete evidence by the end of the day, otherwise we will press charges against them tomorrow," Chiou said.

Meanwhile, Chen Che-nan issued a written statement yesterday denying his connection with Chang Min-chiang and that he had interfered with Pacific Sogo's management.

"I never knew Chang Min-chiang, either in public or in private. We never met each other, and there was no way I talked about Pacific Sogo department store's management with him," Chen Che-nan said in the statement. "I will sue Lee Chuan-chiao for making false accusations."

He said in the statement that he was willing to undergo investigation and he hoped pan-blue legislators would offer concrete evidence to back up their claims.

"The Business Weekly (商業周刊) report that my property value has increased by NT$100 million during my nine years as a civil servant is completely false. I will also sue the magazine," Chen Che-nan said.

Chen Che-nan's office said his properties increased by over NT$40 million instead of NT$100 million over the past nine years. The office said Chen Che-nan already told Business Weekly this during an interview, yet the magazine did not print a word about it.

Pan-blue legislators continued to pursue the issue of Pacific Sogo management yesterday.

The KMT's Lee Chuan-chiao said that originally Chang Min-chiang was scheduled to attend the press conference, but after great pressure, Chang Min-chiang had disappeared. Lee Chuan-chiao also said he had received threats since he alleged the Presidential Office had meddled with the store's management.

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