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Sat, Sep 04, 1999 - Page 3 News List

Legislator faces fraud charges

EMBEZZLEMENT CASE Kuo Ting-tsai is protesting his innocence, but prosecutors are pushing for a long jail term for allegedly taking NT$2.3 billion from a credit co-op

STAFF WRITER

Kuo Ting-tsai, a KMT legislator, has been charged with fraud.

PHOTO: LIBERTY TIMES

Prosecutors have filed formal charges against KMT legislator Kuo Ting-tsai (郭廷才) over his alleged role in a NT$2.3 billion bank embezzlement scheme, and have asked for a prison term of 13 years if he is found guilty.

Fan Wen-chin (范文欽), prosecutor at the Pingtung County Prosecutors' Office, announced yesterday that his office has concluded an investigation into financial regularities at the Tungkang Credit Cooperative where Kuo serves as chairman.

Kuo, along with Hsu Shu-chin (許淑卿), the credit co-op's director, and 10 others have been indicted on charges of breach of trust, fraud and falsifying securities certifi-cates.

Fan stated that the evidence gathered by his staff shows that Kuo played a major role in the bank scandal.

He said Kuo and Hsu used their positions at the head of the co-op to instruct accountants to falsify account books and certificates of deposit in order to embezzle NT$2.3 billion from an agricultural firm and a local bank whose funds were deposited in the co-op.

Summonses have been issued for others involved in the scandal, with bail for the suspects set between NT$50,000 and NT$100,000.

Kuo, meanwhile, showed up at the Legislative Yuan early yesterday to register for the new legislative session. Kuo previously failed to appear in court after being issued two summonses.

He later disappeared, leading the court to issue a warrant for his arrest on Aug. 26. Kuo's position as a legislator grants him immunity from arrest and detention while the lawmaking body is in session, unless the Legislative Yuan voids this privilege.

Kuo claimed he had not received either of the two summonses issued by the Pingtung County Prosecu-tors' Office (屏東地檢署).

He repeatedly told reporters he had not tried to evade the summonses, and stated he would appear at the Pingtung County Prosecutors' Office within the next few days.

Kuo, who has recently undergone a minor surgical procedure, looked pale and tired. The left side of his face was still paralyzed from the operation, adding to his haggard appearance.

"The Ministry of Finance should bear part of the responsibility for the scandal in Tungkang," Kuo said. "I'm only nominally responsible. Most of my time is spent in the legislature. They're the experts -- if they can't get to the bottom of all the problems, how do they expect me to figure things out?

"If prosecutors are going to indict me, that's fine. I would never advise anyone not to take legal action against me," he said.

Kuo also claimed that he was not involved in any wrongdoing at the bank. "If I had embezzled money from the cooperative, I wouldn't need to put up my own property as collateral for loans. I could save the money on interest, and wouldn't have to run around trying to repay all these loans," he said.

Kuo is a long-time member of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Yuan, and registered with the committee this morning.

When asked whether he would use his committee position to press his case with officials of the Central Deposit Insurance Corp (中央存款保險公司) or Ministry of Finance, Kuo stated he would do everything by the book.

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