Mon, Jul 18, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors in Taichung order arrest of ex-speaker

ON THE LAM Officials may seek the extradition of Liu Sung-pan from the US, where he has stayed since being given four years in jail for accepting kickbacks

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taichung prosecutors yesterday said they will order the arrest and possible extradition from the US of former Legislative Yuan speaker Liu Sung-pan (劉松藩), who is currently avoiding jail time. Liu was sentenced to four years in prison last September for taking kickbacks, but fled to the US, where he has been ever since.

"Prosecutors have five times informed him to serve his imprisonment, but Liu did not appear. To follow the Criminal Procedure Code, prosecutors will promulgate an order for his arrest this week," said Chang Hung-mo (張宏謀), spokesman for Taichung Prosecutors' Office yesterday.

"Because Liu has stayed in the US since his trial, prosecutors might ask US authorities to extradite Liu back to Taiwan," Chang added.

Liu's lawyer Lo Feng-yin (羅豐胤) yesterday said that Liu has no intention of avoiding his imprisonment, but that US doctors have said he is unable to take the long flight back to Taiwan because he is recovering from a serious heart attack.

Liu was found guilty last September of accepting NT$150 million (US$4.7 million) in kickbacks from Tseng Cheng-jen (曾正仁), president of the Kuangsan Enterprise Group (廣三集團) and chairman of the board of the Taichung Business Bank (台中企銀), a subsidiary of the group.

Taichung prosecutors have five times informed Liu he must serve his prison time: in September last year, January, March, May, and most recently, on July 15. Five times, Liu has failed to appear. Liu's lawyer has each time sent medical documents to prosecutors claiming that Liu was unable to fly back to Taiwan.

Prosecutors said the medical documents were not authorized by the appropriate US officials.

Liu allegedly used the dirty money to solicit votes for his 1999 campaign for the legislative speakership. During the campaign, investigators say, Liu issued as many as 100 checks, of which some 20 were given to legislators.

Liu, a nine-term legislator, was legislative speaker between 1991 and 1998.

Last fall, the Supreme Court found that Liu helped Chihching Corp (知慶公司) apply for a loan from the Taichung Business Bank (台中企銀), where Tseng served as chairman.

In November 1998, the bank approved a NT$1.5 billion loan for Chihching without making a proper assessment of the company's creditworthiness.

Following approval of the loan, Chihching paid Tseng a huge commission, and Tseng gave Liu NT$150 million in kickbacks, the court found.

The Supreme Court sentenced Tseng to 11 years in prison for financial irregularities totaling roughly NT$20 billion.

Liu told the court that he had only borrowed the NT$150 million from Tseng, and that he just hasn't returned it yet.

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