Allegations that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) received a NT$200 million (US$6.2 million) off-the-books political donation from Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團) made by media personality Clara Chou (周玉蔻) are being investigated by the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, while Ma said yesterday that he was suing Chou in an individual capacity to defend the dignity of the head of state.
Chou has cited anonymous sources at the National Security Council that said the “Ma administration” — which she said referred to Ma himself — had privately accepted a NT$200 million political donation, severely tarnishing the image of the Ma administration as honest.
Chou said that Senhwa Biosciences (生華生物科技) chairman Benny Hu (胡定吾) was a key person in the process and the relationship between Hu, Ma and Ting Hsin had caused the Ma administration to cover up for Ting Hsin during food safety scandals earlier this year.
Photo: Pan Shao-tang, Taipei Times
SID Director Kuo Wen-tung (郭文東) said the division has assigned Prosecutor Lin Cheng-tsung (林承宗) to head the investigation of alleged violations of the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法).
The case is still in the evidence-gathering stage and there is no clear defendant as of yet, Kuo said, adding that the division was not ruling out questioning Chou.
The SID is only gathering evidence to determine whether the case would fall under the division’s jurisdiction, Kuo said, adding that if that was not the case, it would be transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.
The district prosecutors’ office would be kept in the loop during the investigation, Kuo said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) said yesterday that the allegations were baseless slander and added that Ma had applauded the SID’s initiative to investigate the allegations.
The president has expressed his hope that the judiciary would be able to clear up the incident as soon as possible, Ma Wei-kuo said.
Ma Wei-kuo said the government’s stance on the food safety scandals involving Ting Hsin was that the judiciary should investigate the cases and punish violators of the law heavily.
Meanwhile, in response to Ma Ying-jeou’s litigation against her, Chou said yesterday that she had mentioned specific sources in all recent reports and should the case be taken to court she could prove that all her claims are based on truth by calling witnesses to the stand.
“Since I am the defendant in the suit Ma raised against me, I need not make any statements to the SID that would be disadvantageous to me,” Chou said.
However, she added that an exception could be made if the SID wished to look deeper into the possibility that the Ma administration has been covering for Ting Hsin.
Chou said that by law, the legality of the political donations lay within the jurisdiction of the Control Yuan and not the SID, adding that she would decide whether she would talk with the SID concerning the case today.
Additional reporting by CNA
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