Former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) was indicted yesterday on corruption-related charges, prosecutors said.
Lin was accused of demanding bribes, pocketing about NT$60 million (US$2 million) in bribes, concealing illegal gains and keeping unaccountable assets, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) said.
Although prosecutors did not seek a specific sentence for Lin, the crime of accepting bribes alone carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
SID spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) said the prosecutors did not specify a sentence for Lin because the Control Yuan has deemed the practice inappropriate.
Lin’s case came to light on June 27 when a local magazine reported that he helped Kaohsiung-based Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司) secure a slag treatment contract from a subsidiary of China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) in 2010, when Lin was serving as a legislator of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
In return, Ti Yung owner Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) gave Lin NT$63 million, the indictment read.
The magazine reported that Lin demanded a further NT$83 million from Chen early this year after he was appointed Cabinet secretary-general. When Chen refused to pay up, Lin allegedly pressured CSC, a listed company in which the government has a controlling stake, to stop supplying slag to Ti Yung.
Lin, 42, was taken into custody by prosecutors for investigation on July 2.
Lin’s mother, Shen Juo-lan (沈若蘭), who allegedly received the bribe along with Lin, was indicted as another principal offender in the case, according to the indictment.
Lin’s wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), and two of his maternal uncles — Shen Huan-yao (沈煥瑤) and Shen Huan-chang (沈煥璋) — were charged with money laundering for concealing the bribe on behalf of Lin, the indictment read.
Chen Chi-hsiang, who gave testimony against Lin as a witness for the prosecutors, was under investigation in a separate case by the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said the Cabinet had no further comment other than that it respected the investigation conducted by the judiciary and hoped it would adhere to the principles of justice and fairness.
KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), convener of the legislative Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, said there was still room for argument as to whether Lin is guilty and which laws would be applied to the case when it is tried in court.
Lin and his attorney could argue that Lin was not in a position to decide whom subsidiary companies of state-owned enterprises sign contracts with because Lin — either as a lawmaker or KMT policy committee chief then — did not have that kind of power, Lu said.
Prosecutors applied articles under the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例) to indict Lin, but it is debatable whether the act was applicable to Lin’s case, Lu said, adding: “Lin did have a say in contract matters, but he did not have the final say.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said “it was not a surprise that Lin was indicted, but the results the SID announced were a lot different from what most people had expected. Does the indictment indeed reflect the entire picture of the case?”
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said that while he would comment further after reading the indictment, it appeared the SID had already “drawn a red line” before making the indictment.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said it was strange that Lin’s father, Lin Hsien-pao (林仙保), who was present at the meeting between Lin and Chen Chi-hsiang, had never been subpoenaed by the investigators and the SID had not offered an explanation of the omission.