The Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office said yesterday it would investigate former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) on suspicion of money laundering.
“We will look into the allegation brought against Lee,” SIP spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) told reporters.
When asked if former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was the accuser as some local media had reported, the prosecutor said “yes.”
Chen Yun-nan said that Chen Shui-bian provided information on Lee’s alleged money laundering during the investigation. He did not elaborate on the details of the charges.
At a separate setting yesterday, the Taiwan Solidarity Union Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) slammed Chen Shui-bian for blurring the focus of the case by allegedly accusing Lee — the party’s spiritual leader.
“Lee has always welcomed the prosecutors to launch a probe [into his financial dealings]. Everyone knows Chen [Shui-bian’s] only tactic left is to blur the focus. I am 200 percent confident in Lee’s integrity,” Lin said.
Later yesterday however, one of Chen Shui-bian’s defense attorneys, Shih Yi-lin (石宜琳), said his client never filed any complaints with the prosecutors against Lee. Chen Shui-bian had nothing to do with the probe into Lee’s financial dealings, Shih said.
“It is one big misunderstanding. My client never provided any information regarding [former] president Lee on his own initiative or when asked by the prosecutors,” said Shih, adding that he speculated the rumor was probably started by some “opportunistic politicians.”
Chen Shui-bian was indicted on Dec. 12 on graft charges for allegedly embezzling NT$104 million (US$3.14 million) from a special presidential fund together with his wife. Several former senior officials from his administration are also under investigation for corruption.
He has previously alleged on television that his predecessor transferred around NT$1.6 billion abroad through dummy accounts — charges Lee rejected.
Hailed as “Mr Democracy,” Lee pushed through reforms to allow direct elections of the president and national lawmakers. He was also Taiwan’s first democratically elected president. Lee served as Taiwan’s president from 1988 to 2000, when he was succeeded by Chen Shui-bian.