Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 1 News List

President's son-in-law kept in custody

DETENTION EXTENDED Chao Chien-ming was being held to prevent him and other defendants in the insider trading case from coordinating their stories, prosecutors said


President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) was detained early yesterday morning by the Taipei District Court after hours of questioning over his involvement in an alleged insider trading scandal.

Investigators spent hours questioning Chao Chien-min, his father Chao Yu-chu (趙玉柱), his mother Chien Shui-mien (簡水綿), Chao's younger brother Chao Chien-hsun (趙建勳) and Chao Chien-hsun's wife Cheng Ya-ling (程雅玲) on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in insider trading of Taiwan Development Corp (TDC) shares.

Early yesterday, a court released Chao's relatives but approved a request from prosecutors to keep Chao under detention.

Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑) said yesterday that although Chao did not admit to insider trading, he was still detained by prosecutors to prevent him from destroying or falsifying evidence or conferring with other defendants.

"There is a strong suspicion of his involvement in insider trading," said Lin.

TDC chairman, Su Teh-jien (蘇德建), was also detained late on Wednesday night after being questioned.

Stories did not tally

Judge Liu Shou-sung (劉壽嵩) told reporters that the pair had been held "because the testimony of Chao, Su and three other people did not tally" and out of fear that Chao and the other suspects could "conspire to destroy evidence."

Outside the detention facility, a small group of right-wingers chanted slogans demanding that the president assume responsibility for the alleged scandal and resign.

Although the Chaos claim that the decision to take part in the share deal was made solely by Chao Yu-chu -- Chao Chien-ming's father, the evidence clearly points to Chao Chien-ming's participation throughout the entire process, investigators said.

The scandal dates back to last summer when Su, Chang Hwa Commercial Bank chairman Chang Po-shin (張伯欣), bank president Chen Chen-chao (陳辰昭) and another bank official dined with Chao Chien-ming, Waterland Securities Co board director Tsai Chin-wen (蔡清文) and businessman Yu Shih-yi (游世一) at a Japanese restaurant in Taipei on two separate occasions.

Officials suspect that the seven discussed the trading of TDC shares on both occasions because Tsai and Yu reportedly bought large numbers of TDC shares released by the bank.

Tsai and Yu have also been detained by the Taipei District Court.

Chao Chien-ming has been separated from the other detainees to prevent any coordination of their confessions.

Chao Chien-ming yesterday has also been temporarily relieved of his professional duties at National Taiwan University Hospital, according to a statement released by the hospital.

No pressure

During a Judiciary Committee question and answer session at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) said the prosecutors would be able to conduct the investigation without any outside pressure.

Shih denied media reports that he had received phone calls from "higher officials" inquiring about the progress of the investigation.

"The investigation process is free from all political pressure and I have not received phone calls from anybody inquiring about the cases progress," Shih said.

Legislators at the session also questioned whether the presidential compound where Chen lives would be searched if prosecutors found that evidence relating to Chao's case may be in the compound.

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