Cecilia Koo’s donations questioned

‘SUICIDE’::National Women’s League chairwoman Joanna Lei said that Cecilia Koo’s call to nationalize the league’s assets was a ploy by the family to shield its interests

By Yang Chun-hui, Yang Mien-chieh and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Thu, Mar 08, 2018 - Page 1

The National Women’s League, under the leadership of then-chairwoman Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲), from 2006 to 2016 donated NT$236 million (US$8.07 million at the current exchange rate) to entities owned by her extended family, a source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times).

The Koo family is one of the nation’s most powerful business dynasties and its members own many enterprises in the banking, securities, and rubber and cement sectors, among others.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the league funneled donations to the Koo family’s foundations registered as contributions to projects ranging from breast cancer research to establishing disaster relief centers.

However, the league directed the largest share of the donations, about NT$130 million, to the Taipei Li-yuan Peking Opera Theatre (台北新劇團), a theater group owned by Koo’s daughter, Vivien Ku (辜懷群).

C.F. Koo Foundation (辜公亮文教基金會) received NT$31 million, the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-sen Cancer Center (和信治癌中心) received NT$55 million and St John’s University in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) received NT$20 million in league donations.

The league also moved more than NT$700 million to foundations created by the league, including more than NT$500 million to Cheng Hsin General Hospital, NT$150 million to the National Women’s League Foundation for the Hearing Impaired and NT$9 million to the Taipei Chinese Women’s Foundation (台北市華夏婦女文教基金會), among others.

Meanwhile, league chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) said that Cecilia Koo’s call to nationalize the league’s remaining assets was a ploy by the Koo family to shield its interests.

In a Facebook post, Lei compared Cecilia Koo’s proposal with “suicide,” adding that implementing the plan would be tantamount to “completely dissolving the league.”

“Colleagues who have long worked for [Cecelia Koo] are absolutely convinced that the latest proposal was a plot concocted by other members of the Koo family,” she said.

An employee of the Koo family has reportedly admitted to shredding 170 boxes of league financial records, which could have potentially helped the league in its battle against the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, Lei said, adding that this suggests there was a conspiracy by members of the Koo family.

“The truth about the situation between December [last year] and January is increasingly clear, even though the reason behind it is still unknown to members,” she said.

The league issued a statement saying that Lei had tendered her resignation yesterday for the third time, but board members had again persuaded her to stay on.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said many of the donations were made to take care of Koo’s daughter and other family members instead of military veterans and their dependents — one of the main founding purposes of the league.