Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), a key suspect in a case of alleged bribery involving former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), was detained and questioned by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) yesterday.
Chen, head of Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司), a metal-recycling company, has accused Lin of accepting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) to help him secure procurement contracts from China Steel Corp (中鋼) and two of its subsidiaries in 2010, and of asking for a further NT$83 million this year.
Chen, who allegedly went into hiding after the Chinese-language Next Magazine published his accusation on Wednesday, was arrested on Friday night at a hotel in Taipei City.
Chen was yesterday named a defendant in the investigation and was released after being questioned for 12 hours.
Lin on Friday was also named a defendant in the case and is expected to be summoned for questioning over the next few days.
SID spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) told a press conference yesterday that the agency launched an investigation into the case soon after Next Magazine published the allegation on Wednesday.
SID prosecutor Tsai-Hung-jen (蔡宏仁) is in charge of the case, Chen Hung-ta said, adding that Tsai subpoenaed Chen Chi-hsiang to testify as a witness, but when the notice was delivered to his residence in Greater Kaohsiung, Chen Chi-hsiang was not at home and appeared to have severed connections with his family and friends.
It was later discovered that Chen Chi-hsiang had spent the past few days at a hotel in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義). Tsai and investigators arrested him in his hotel room at 11pm on Friday, the spokesman said.
According to Chen Hung-ta, Chen Chi-hsiang immediately called three attorneys, who came to the hotel, and then declined to be questioned until the next day.
A female friend of Chen Chi-hsiang was with him at the hotel and prosecutors interviewed her as a witness yesterday morning, Chen Hung-ta said, adding that after considering the degree of Chen Chi-hsiang’s suspected involvement in the case prosecutors had decided to name him as a defendant.
Separately yesterday, Lin’s lawyer, KMT Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如), said her client was willing to meet with Chen Chi-hsiang face to face.
“However, Lin will not respond to accusations made by members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This is not a political issue, it is a legal one. It is therefore desirable to avoid giving the DPP the opportunity to manipulate it for its own political ends,” she said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih