Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday accused Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of a conflict of interest because of her involvement with a biotech start-up after leaving office that received investment from the state-owned National Development Fund. They demanded that documents relating to the investment be made public immediately.
According to fund data, on Feb. 15, 2007 then-Council for Economic Planning and Development chairperson and NDF convener Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) sent documents labeled classified to then-premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and then-vice premier Tsai for approval, stating that under certain conditions, the fund would invest US$20 million in a company that would work with US firm Genentech.
The committee managing the fund passed an incidental motion on April 17 that it would retain the Feb. 15 document for future reference, the fund’s data showed.
On Aug. 31 the same year, Tsai sent a letter to the fund asking it to wire NT$40 million to the account of the “Taimao Protein Technology Co Preparatory Office (台懋蛋白胜科技股份有限公司)” before Sept. 3. Another letter was sent on the same day saying the company’s name had been changed to “Yu Chang Biologics Co (宇昌生技股份有限公司),” repeating the request for the fund to wire NT$40 million to the account of Yu Chang Biologics Co Preparatory Office.
Yu Chang Biologics Co was registered and established on Sept. 5, 2007, with Tsai as its chairperson and the fund took three seats of the seven that made up the company’s board of directorates.
On April 28 2009, Yu Chang Biologics Co changed its name to TaiMed Biologics Co (中裕新藥股份有限公司) and was approved on June 18 last year to register its emerging stocks on the over-the-counter (OTC) board of listed companies.
The legislature’s Economics Committee, where the KMT holds a majority, late yesterday passed a resolution asking the fund to declassify within the week all classified materials concerning the investment in the TaiMed Biologics Co and send the files to the committee for review.
Article 14 Section 1 of the Civil Servants Work Act (公務員服務法) stipulates that civil servants are not allowed, within three years of their resignation, to hold the position of chairperson, supervisor or manager at any company with which they had dealings at any time five years prior to their resignation.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) quoted media reports accusing Tsai of having deliberately sought to enrich herself during her tenure as vice premier by asking the fund to invest in a company of which she later became chairperson.
During the questioning, National Development Fund convener Christina Liu (劉憶如) declined to speculate as to whether Tsai violated the “revolving door” clause, saying she would let officials in charge of that section explain the matter.
In response to KMT allegation that by serving as a chairperson of TaiMed Biologics prior to being appointed DPP chairperson, Tsai violated the “revolving door” clause, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that Tsai did not violate the clause, according to a detailed explanation of the article in question by the Ministry of Civil Service and the Executive Yuan’s Rules and Regulations Commission in 1996 and 2008.
On the charge that Tsai received NT$100 million in profits from selling her shares in TaiMed Biologics Co, Chen said Tsai became chairperson of TaiMed Biologics Co at the invitation of scientists David Ho (何大一), Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) and Chen Lan-bo (陳良博), three months after she quit her position as vice premier.