Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former Council of Economic Planning and Development minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) over the pair’s allegations during the presidential election campaign that Tsai had played an improper role in the formation of a biotechnology company.
Tsai filed the lawsuit with the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) against Wu, who is currently visiting Central America, and Liu for violations of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), accusing them of spreading rumors or false statements for the purpose of impeding a candidate’s election chances, Tsai’s lawyers Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Lien Yuan-long (連元龍) told a press conference.
“With the lawsuit, Tsai intends to highlight the issue of the state apparatus’ illegal involvement in a campaign and its impact on a major election result, rather than proving her innocence,” Koo said.
“If the fairness of elections is sabotaged over and over again, democracy will be only an illusion,” Koo quoted Tsai as saying.
Tsai did not attend the press conference because of previous engagements.
Initiated by Liu’s declassification of government documents in December last year, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) accused Tsai of corruption in the “Yu Chang [Biologics Co (宇昌生技股份有限公司)] case” during her time as vice premier in 2007, when she approved separate government investments of NT$875 million (US$28.8 million) and US$20 million — about NT$1.4 billion in total — for the biotechnology start-up before leaving office and later serving as Yu Chang chairperson.
The SID on Tuesday last week closed its probe into the case, which was seen by many as one of the reasons behind Tsai’s loss to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in January, clearing Tsai of any wrongdoing.
The division had previously dismissed all lawsuits related to the case, including the DPP lawyers’ lawsuit against Wu, Wu’s wife Tsai Ling-yi (蔡令怡) and Liu, who allegedly altered documents to discredit Tsai Ing-wen and benefit Ma’s campaign, as well as Tsai Ing-wen’s lawsuit against Liu for alleged document forgery.
Liu said the document was not forged, but misplaced.
Tsai Ing-wen’s integrity in the case had held up to the utmost scrutiny, which is understandable in any democratic election, Koo said, adding: “Tsai Ing-wen wants to know whether Wu should be scrutinized by the same standard.”
The core issues of the lawsuit were the use of state apparatus as a campaign tool, whether the judicial investigation has been fair and whether the legal procedure has been carried out completely, Lien said.
Tsai Ing-wen’s legal team recommended she file a new lawsuit after Liu reportedly told the SID last month that she launched the administrative investigation into her involvement in the case after receiving an order from Wu, who was premier at the time, Lien said.
The case was obviously a mud-slinging tactic and would have been a scandal in other democracies, said DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who served as the moderator of the press conference.
“The hurried dismissal of the case by the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office was an obvious attempt to cover up the political motives of the defendants, as well as an encouragement of future abuse of the administrative branch as a tool to influence election results,” Chen said.