Former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) and his wife were questioned by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) for a second day yesterday as investigators probe whether more officials may have been involved in the corruption scandal.
In a transcript of a tape released by Next Magazine yesterday — which was also played by several news channels — Lin allegedly asked a businessman for a bribe, saying: “There are a number of weiyuan (委員) whom I have to deal with.”
Based on the conversations, the SID said that although Lin has denied having any accomplices, it now suspects there were others involved in the bribery scandal. It is expected to launch additional raids and interrogations in the next few days.
Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), 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 (CSC, 中油) and two of its subsidiaries in 2010, and of asking for a further NT$83 million this year.
Chen was questioned and released without bail by prosecutors on Saturday.
Prosecutors in charge of the case said the key evidence that convinced them that the charges could be true were two recordings of Lin allegedly negotiating with Chen about bribes on Feb. 25 and March 10 this year. Chen handed the tapes over to prosecutors after his company allegedly failed to renew its slag treatment contract with CSC because he refused Lin’s request for a bribe, according to prosecutors. In the recording of a conversation between Chen and Lin on March 10 this year, the voice of Lin’s wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), was heard, asking: “Do you want tea?” as Lin and Chen were talking about the bribe at Lin’s residence in Greater Kaohsiung.
Peng, a TV anchorwoman, who was interviewed as a witness by the SID on Sunday for two hours, arrived at the SID office at 2pm yesterday for a second round of questioning.
Lin was detained on Monday after a 12-hour marathon questioning session late on Sunday and early on Monday, during which he admitted to some of the bribery allegations, prosecutors said.
Evidence showed Lin might collude with others to destroy evidence and so it was necessary to keep Lin in custody during the investigation, said the Taipei District Court, which, after a seven-hour hearing, granted a request by prosecutors to hold Lin incommunicado for up to two months.
If convicted on charges of accepting a bribe and demanding a bribe related to his duty, Lin could face life imprisonment and a possible fine of up to NT$100 million, according to the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例).