Tue, Feb 24, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lien again under fire for evading millions in taxes

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The financial situation of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday again came under fire from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as it accused the Lien family of evading up to NT$400 million in taxes.

In its latest campaign commercial, the DPP linked Lien to the late US vice president Spiro Agnew, who stepped down from the vice presidency in 1973 after he was found evading taxes.

The TV commercial, entitled "Taiwan's Agnew," claimed that Lien had used his political influence to help his daughter Lien Hui-hsin (連惠心) evade a NT$400 million gift tax in 1991.

Citing an official document from Taipei City tax authorities indicating Lien Hui-hsin was once under investigation for tax evasion, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) yesterday said, "Lien's daughter was found to have evaded the payment of the gift tax and was investigated by the Tax Bureau of Taipei City under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, headed by Wang Chien-shien (王建火宣) in 1991."

Facing the investigation by the tax bureau, the 24-year-old Lien Hui-hsin changed her household registration immediately from her residence in Taipei City to Tamshui township, Taipei County, under a KMT local faction leader, Mai Chun-fu (麥春福), on July 30 in the same year.

The change of Lien's household registration had also switched the investigation authority of the tax evasion case from Taipei City to Taipei County's Tax Department, headed by Lin Sui-sheng (林燧生), who also concurrently served as a board member of two foundations owned by Lien's family.

Tuan said since the change of Lien Hui-hsin's household registration, the inquiry into the tax evasion started by the Taipei County tax authorities ceased. As a result, Tuan said, Lien Hui-hsin restored her household registration back to her Taipei City residence on Sep. 7, 1993.

During February 1992, Lin was promoted to vice director of the finance department of the Taiwan Provincial Government, of which Lien Chan was the chairman.

Tuan also said yesterday the tax evasion incident was once questioned by then KMT legislator Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) in 1993, who formed a coalition with Wang, who had just retired from the finance ministry.

Jaw questioned Lien Chan in the legislature in 1993 about "whether Lin had helped the Lien family dodge taxation of up to NT$400 million." Lien then replied "there was no such thing as Lin helping my family dodge NT$400 million in taxes."

Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), then a KMT lawmaker and now chairman of the New Party, also asked Lien "why did Lien Hui-hsin's household registration change to Tamship township, Taipei County?"

Lien's answer to Yok's question was that "the handling of my family's assets was entirely legal."

Tuan yesterday demanded Lien Chan explain in detail whether his family was involved in dodging taxes.

In response to the DPP's charges, KMT spokesperson Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday rebutted the accusation and denied that Lien Hui-hsin had evaded the gift tax.

Tsai said the finance authorities' listing of Lien on the tax investigation list was due to the abnormal increase on Lien's financial transaction records and that it didn't necessarily mean that Lien had evaded the tax.

He called the DPP's accusation part of the party's mudslinging campaign strategies to smear the image of Lien.

Asked by reporters about the case, Lien yesterday rebutted the accusation "boring."

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