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Decision on CMPC expected tomorrow

ASSET SALES QUESTIONED:The firm’s latest financial reports reportedly showed its total assets to be NT$11.8 billion, with three pieces of real-estate its most valuable items

By Chen Yu-fu  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Culture and Movie Center complex in Taipei’s Shilin District is pictured on Dec. 17, 2016.

Photo: Lu Chun-wei, Taipei Times

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee is to announce tomorrow that the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC, 中央電影公司) is an affiliate of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and freeze its assets, which are worth NT$11.8 billion (US$382.62 million), sources said yesterday.

An investigation by the committee determined that CMPC had been used to produce propaganda for the KMT, and that during the authoritarian era, the company collaborated with the KMT and military to produce patriotic war movies portraying the party as brave and victorious, the sources said.

Under then-chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the KMT in May 2005 sold the company, which it by then held via Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co (華夏投資公司), to Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co (正崴) chairman Gou Tai-chiang (郭台強) for NT$3.14 billion after amendments to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) that year barred political parties, the military and politicians from owning media outlets.

An investigation by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office earlier this year concluded that there were abnormalities with the deal and that the KMT might have sold it for NT$1.8 billion less than it was worth.

The committee determined that ownership of the company had been transferred to another name for an unreasonable price and believed that the Act Governing the Settlement of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例) should apply to the case, the sources said.

The company’s latest financial reports showed its total assets to be NT$11.8 billion, with debt of NT$5.4 billion, the sources said.

The Chinese Culture and Movie Center (中影文化城) in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林), a building on Bade Road and the New World Building (新世界大樓) in Ximending area (西門町) are the firm’s most valuable real-estate assets, they added.

After World War II, the KMT took over 14 Japanese movie theaters and in the 1950s sold five of them, said one committee member, who declined to be named.

However, proceeds from the sales did not go to the Treasury, and the party used NT$1.1 million of the money to buy land in Shilin for the Chinese Culture and Movie Center.

The committee found that the party had initially controlled CMPC by having individual members serve as shareholders, but the company later became an asset of Hua Hsia Investment, which became its biggest shareholder, the member said.

Committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said the committee is to meet tomorrow to discuss the CMPC case and if it was decided that an administrative injunction should be meted out, the company’s assets would be frozen.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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