Fugitive says Chen took his donations

WANTED MAN: Comparing Chen Shui-bian to Hitler, the fugitive former Tuntex head said the president accepted money from him before the 2000 election

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Feb 03, 2004 - Page 1

Accusations by one of the nation's 10 most wanted fugitives that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had accepted his donations in the run-up to the presidential election in 2000 and the Taipei City mayoral election in 1998 were shrugged off by the Presidential Office and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday.

"It's vile to accuse the president with such an obscure insinuation. We strongly suspect the allegation is a political maneuver deliberately staged by someone with an evil mindset," said Presidential Office spokesman James Huang (黃志芳). "I'm calling on the accuser to return home and produce evidence to back his allegation, instead of using such an underhanded accusation to slander the head of state."

The former chairman of the Tuntex Group Chen You-hao (陳由豪) yesterday faxed three open letters to the president and the offices of opposition lawmakers.

Chen You-hao was indicted on charges of breach of trust and reportedly left Taiwan in August 2002. He has been accused of stealing about NT$800 million from the Tuntex Group's subsidiary Tunghua Development in 1995 and investing the money in China.

Chen You-hao said that the president has completely disappointed him with his campaign against "black gold" politics. He also implicated Deputy Secretary-General to the Presidential Office Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) and Vice Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chang Ching-sen (張景森), as well as a man surnamed Lee, who he said enjoyed a close relationship with politicians and business tycoons, in accepting his political donation on behalf of Chen Shui-bian.

Describing himself as a "political refugee," Chen You-hao questioned the DPP-led government's motive to include him in the list of the 10 most wanted fugitives, saying the move was politically motivated.

"I've learned that it was a political decision made by those higher up," Chen You-hao said in one of the statements. "The charge against me is false according to the report released by the Investigation Bureau in July 2002 ? The investment in China, totaling US$2 million, was legal because it was approved by the government."

Chen You-hao also likened the president to Adolf Hitler.

"What you've done over the years has reminded me of Germany's dictator Hitler," he said. "His whole life tells a story to the world of how the power of the people can lift a politician up to the sky and how a despot can bring catastrophe to his own country."

"It takes rationality and legality to deepen democracy, but I have seen you incite the public to hate China and Chinese people," Chen You-hao said in the statement.

Speaking on behalf of Chen Che-nan, Huang said that the Presidential Office deputy secretary-general has never taken the initiative to meet Chen You-hao and has not been involved in any deals with him, although he did meet Chen You-hao several times over the years.

Chang faxed a statement to the Presidential Office to dismiss Chen You-hao's allegations. According to Chang, he did meet Chen You-hao in 1999, but did not engage in anything illegal.

"While I welcome a judicial investigation into the matter, I'm calling on Chen You-hao to return home immediately to offer his testimony. I also don't rule out the possibility of filing a defamation suit against him in future," Chang said in his statement.

DPP campaign spokesman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) also called on Chen You-hao to return home and explain his NT$100 million donation to People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

"It's obvious that Chen You-hao enjoys a close relationship with the pan-blue camp, because according to the Control Yuan's investigation report on the Chung Hsiung Bills Finance scandal, the NT$100 million contribution made by Chen You-hao ended up in Soong's bank account," Wu said.

In the Chung Hsiung Bills Finance scandal, which was uncovered in 1999 in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, Soong was alleged to have embezzled funds from the KMT. The case was generally believed to have led to Soong losing the election.

Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) dismissed Chen You-hao's statement that his inclusion in the 10 most wanted list had been politically motivated as "distorting the truth."

"There are four different categories of people included in the 10 most wanted list, and Chen You-hao is one of those accused of committing financial crimes," he said.

Additional reporting by Lin Chieh-yu

Also see story:

Tuntex chief's letters spark furor