Fri, Feb 13, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Political parties exchange lawsuits over donations

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and pan-blue politicians exchanged lawsuits yesterday over political donations.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), on behalf of the office, filed lawsuits against six pan-blue politicians for publicly insulting a public office, citing Article 140 of the Criminal Code.

"Mr. James Soong and others still cannot offer any evidence to prove that the Presidential Office is a center for `black gold' politics, so I am filing a lawsuit against them on behalf of the Presidential Office," Chiou said.

The six politicians are People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), PFP legislators Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) and Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教), Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) and Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順).

On Wednesday, Chiou demanded the blue camp apologize or show proof of their allegation, or face a lawsuit. But the politicians rejected the demand.

Chiou's deputy, Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), also filed lawsuits against Lee Chuan-chiao and PFP Legislator Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) for libel, demanding NT$50 million as compensation. DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) filed a lawsuit against Lee Tung-hao for libel as well.

Chen said, "Lee Chuan-chiao held a press conference to accuse me of handling illegal money, and that someone gave NT$20 million to dine with me in the Presidential Office. But this is not a fact. I did not see Chang Min-chiang (章民強)," Chen said.

Chang Min-chiang is chairman of the Pacific Sogo Department Stores.

"Lee Tung-hao also said that I had an apartment worth NT$60 million in Kaohsiung, and it is not true either. Both accusations have damaged my reputation," Chen said.

Countering the DPP's lawsuits, the PFP legislative caucus filed lawsuits against Chiou, accusing him of making malicious accusations against PFP politicians.

The PFP caucus said the Presidential Office was only shifting the focus to cover up the issue of the top officials taking illegal donations and no one has yet to clear up the matter.

Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), a PFP Taipei city councilor and lawyer representing the PFP caucus, said Article 140 of the Criminal Code meant that someone could be charged with insulting a public office or public official during the discharge of his duties.

"With the Presidential Office charging PFP politicians with public insult to a public office, does that mean the Presidential Office's duty included taking money and interfering with the management of private enterprises?" Huang asked.

Meanwhile, Lee Chuan-chiao disappeared yesterday, although he accepted a phone interview with the media. Lee refused to disclose his whereabouts and said it was because he had received too many threats in the past few days.

Pacific Construction Co (太平洋建設) issued a statement two days ago saying that there was a top official at the Presidential Office involved in the management transfer of Pacific Sogo, but its chairman, Chang Min-chiang, never went to the Presidential Office to meet anyone, and never spent NT$20 million to meet Presidential Office officials.

According to Pacific Construction, the money, instead, was given by Mingyang Development Company (明陽開發公司), but Pacific Construction refused to explain where the money went.

Lee Chuan-chiao then alleged that it was Chang Min-chiang's son, Chang Chi-min (章啟民), who went to the Presidential Office to see Chen Che-nan. Lee Chuan-chiao said that Chang Min-chiang went to see him to talk about the matter on Monday, accompanied by four friends.

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