Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Wang cleared of influence peddling

LASTING EFFECTS:Investigators concluded that influence peddling claims involving DPP whip Ker were unfounded, but the DPP said the case had still damaged the nation

By Chien Li-chung and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has been cleared of allegations of influence peddling, the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office announced yesterday, after its investigative unit last month concluded that there was no evidence backing claims that Wang spoke with retired judge Yang Ping-chen (楊炳禎) to request that he influence an embezzlement case involving Formosa Telecom Investment Co (全民電通).

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was general manager of the telecom within the alleged period of misconduct.

Ker was accused of having used his position to make NT$200 million (US$66,540) through insider trading and the misuse of company funds to buy shares.

He was sentenced to six months in jail for violating the Business Accounting Act (商業會計法) in 1997. The ruling was appealed twice and a retrial at the Taiwan High Court ultimately found Ker not guilty.

The DPP whip was alleged to have discussed with Wang trying to influence the judge handling the case with a NT$3 million bribe.

However, the unit found no evidence to support the allegations, and no link between Ker and Wang.

The initial investigation into Wang and Ker was handled by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigative Unit, which used wiretaps to monitor the DPP whip’s communications. The division handed over its probe into Wang to the Taipei unit.

Critics say the wiretapping of Ker was part of a political feud between Wang and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that erupted in the influence peddling allegations in September last year.

Ma attempted to revoke Wang’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership and remove him as legislative speaker.

DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said Wang being cleared by the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office proved that Ma had used wiretaps for political retribution, and that with the cooperation of then-prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), the president subverted the judicial process and violated the Constitution.

“Ma has been doing these things to subvert our Constitution. This case is a big international scandal that has severely damaged Taiwan’s democracy,” Huang Di-ying said.

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