Thu, Nov 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ma testifies about sale of KMT media assets

FIRST TRIAL HEARING:The former president and KMT chairman accused DPP officials and then-first lady Wu Shu-jen of trying to obstruct the KMT’s efforts to sell party assets

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former president and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou, right, talks to reporters yesterday outside the Taipei District Court.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday accused Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of attempting to block the sale of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) three media firms and other assets between 2005 and 2007, as he told a Taipei District Court hearing that he had not broken any laws related to the sales.

Ma and five other current or former KMT officials were indicted by prosecutors in July on charges of breach of trust and contravening the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法), including Wang Hai-ching (汪海清), the former general manager of the KMT-controlled Central Investment Co (CIC 中央投資公司), former CIC chairman Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) and former KMT lawmaker Alex Tsai (蔡正元).

Prosecutors allege that Ma, who was KMT chairman at the time of the sales, was the main decisionmaker in the process.

“Not one cent of money from the sale of party assets has gone into my pockets,” Ma said, reading from a statement.

“We worked hard to dispose the party assets, to fulfill our party’s promise to society and to comply with the amendments to the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法),” he said.

The amendments, passed in 2003, required political parties, government agencies and military officials to divest themselves of media investments by Dec. 26, 2005.

“The DPP was the ruling party at the time and it did not want to see the KMT dispose of its party assets… DPP members interfered in a variety of ways to impede our sale of party assets,” Ma said.

DPP Legislator and Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智), the then-head of the Government Information Office (GIO), along with then-president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), and high-level Presidential Office officials were among those obstructing the KMT’s efforts, he said.

Yao sent a letter to Albert Yu (余建新), then-China Times Group (中時集團) chairman, warning him not to try to acquire a majority shares in KMT-run Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co (華夏投資公司), which controlled the three media firms at the center of the case, Ma said.

The three were Central Motion Picture Corp (中影), China Television Co (中視) and Broadcasting Corp of China (中廣).

About the same time in 2004, an agreement was reached and the contract drawn up, for the Koo (辜) family of Chinatrust Financial Holding (中信金控集團, now CTBC Financial Holding) to acquire partial ownership of CIC, Ma said.

“However, first lady Wu, then-Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), together with other DPP officials made threats, which scared the Koo family from having any dealing on CIC. So our party had to look for other buyers... Such was the political interference at the time, which created a lot of difficulties for KMT in disposing of its party assets,” he said.

Yao yesterday said Ma was “a bastard” who was telling lies to the public.

The sale of the three firms had been a massive deception by the KMT and Ma, who pretended to sell the firms at below market prices, but actually kept them under the party’s control, Yao said.

The GIO letter cited by Ma had not been a threat, but “a kindly reminder” to prospective buyers that they were dealing with KMT’s ill-gotten party assets and questionable finances, he said.

“Ma tried to ensure that the KMT enjoy its party assets and vast wealth, which came from government funds and taxpayers’ money.

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