Wed, Jul 13, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Insider-trading probe claims top scalp

FORCED OUT The premier wants his financial bureaucrats to be free of even the suspicion of wrongdoing, which is why Lee Chin-cheng has been given the boot

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The top official at the Financial Supervisory Commission's (FSC) examination bureau has been forced to step down as fallout continues from an investigation into insider training.

Examination bureau director-general Lee Chin-cheng (李進誠) has been temporarily replaced by FSC vice chairman Lu Daung-yen (呂東英) until a new appointment is made.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) approved the changes last night.

"The bureau is a stand-alone government office, so the head of that office must be clean. Since Lee is now associated with this scandal and under investigation, he has damaged the reputation of the bureau and violated that bottom line," Hsieh said during a visit to the Consumers Foundation yesterday.

Lee is being investigated for alleged insider trading involving Power Quotient International Co. According to Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林), the prosecutors' priorities have been establishing whether there were additional bank accounts being used for laundering purposes and whether there were more government officials involved.

However, while the prosecutors continued their work, the media has also portrayed Lee as having a private life befitting a "handsome, rich and powerful former prosecutor."

With the commission working on a suitable candidate to replace Lee, the premier yesterday outlined his requirements for the new assignment.

"The next director-general of the bureau must be someone who does not live a complicated life," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the premier, Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) was asked what "someone who does not live a complicated life" meant.

He said that such a person must conduct himself with the strictest discipline, must keep a proper distance from friends to avoid leaking classified information and also must be faithful to his partner, whether "she be a wife or a girlfriend."

Lee is to be transferred to another section at the commission without a leadership role. However, his new post has yet to be announced.

Shih said that he asked the Taiwan High Court Prosecutor's Office to expedite the case so that "the truth will be made public as soon as possible."

"I have given my full support to ... Prosecutor-General Hsieh Wen-ding (謝文定). In return, he has given me his promise that they will prosecute the appropriate suspects in this scandal as soon as possible," Shih said.

In the investigation's latest developments, Lin Ming-ta (林明達), a private stock investor currently in detention and thought to be a prime suspect, told prosecutors that he and Lee had been close friends for years, despite an earlier statement to the contrary that denied any connection.

Sources also said that evidence collected by prosecutors was damaging to Lee, but prosecutors would not confirm this.

also see story:

Commission keeps mum over Lee

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