In the latest development in a graft scandal implicating her family, former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) yesterday said that she had not stashed NT$740 million (US$22 million) in a local firm.
“Wu Shu-jen was hospitalized during the time,” Wu’s lawyer Lee Sheng-hsiung (李勝雄) said yesterday. “It was impossible for her to assign anyone to move the money to Yuanta Securities [元大證券].”
“She swears on her life that she did not interfere in financial reforms” during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) term, Lee told reporters.
Lee’s remarks came after Tu Li-ping (杜麗萍), a Yuanta Securities board director, told prosecutors that Wu asked her to take NT$740 million in cash to her firm for safe-keeping during a campaign in 2006 initiated by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) aimed at ousting Chen from office in 2006.
Tu said that NT$200 million was given to the Chen family when Yuanta was in the process of merging with another company, but added that it was not a bribe.
Wu said through her lawyer yesterday that she had accepted only NT$20 million in the form of a “political donation” from Yuanta.
“I admitted that I had received a political donation of NT$20 million from Yuanta prior to the 2004 presidential election. My husband did not know about this and this was also the only money that I received from Yuanta,” Lee quoted Wu as saying in a statement. “I swear with my life that I did not get involved in the government’s financial reform.”
Tu was questioned and released on bail on Friday.
Chen and his family have been dogged by corruption scandals since 2006 and are being investigated on a series of related charges. Chen has been held incommunicado without charge since Nov. 12 on suspicion of embezzlement, taking bribes, forgery and money laundering during his two terms as president between 2000 and this year.
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel yesterday said prosecutors had requested officials from the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the central bank to help identify evidence collected from Chen’s residence and office, adding that some prosecutors had begun to outline an indictment as they plan to close the investigation before the end of next month.
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