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Tue, Jan 04, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Soong is given 24-hour deadline to come clean

STAFF WRITER

The KMT may soon file a lawsuit against independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) regarding the alleged misappropriation of party funds, KMT spokesman Huang Huei-chen (黃輝珍) said yesterday.

Huang gave Soong a 24-hour deadline by which time he had to clarify the origin of funds remitted during the past several years from the KMT "secretary-general's special account" -- opened under Soong's name -- to the accounts of Soong's son and his sister-in-law.

Huang said Soong has never given an adequate explanation of either the origin or the final destination of those funds.

Also yesterday, Soong's financial advisor, his sister-in-law Chen Pi-yun (陳碧雲), appeared in a morning interview on UFO Radio, joined by New Party legislator Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) -- who has headed a privately-based investigation into the allegations of financial misdeeds against Soong and lawyer Tsai Yu-ling (蔡玉玲), a member of Hsieh's investigation team.

In response to accusations that Soong had remitted between US$4 million to US$6 million overseas to make investments there, Chen said the overseas remittances were used for "scholarships."

She said the remittances had been described as "family support expenses" (贍家費) or "investment" (置產) on the remittance application forms because "there was no `scholarship' choice on the forms to check off."

Chen also guaranteed that neither she, Soong, nor his wife held any investments in the US.

When asked why she had not reported the campaign subsidies Soong received from the Central Election Committee after the Taiwan province gubernatorial election in 1994 to tax authorities, Chen said she had "never heard of anyone reporting such funds [as income]."

Hsieh, meanwhile, handed her team's report to finance ministry officials yesterday morning, but the officials declined to give her their ministry's report on its own investigation, as Hsieh had requested.

Minister of Finance Paul Chiu (邱正雄) had said earlier that the ministry would not make its own report public, but would make it available to "higher-level authorities" upon request.

Hsieh's team and the finance ministry disagree over several important aspects of the Soong affair, including the total amount of money remitted.

Chen and Hsieh's team maintain that the total was US$4.09 million, while the finance ministry said it was US$6.36 million.

The ministry sent its report to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office on Dec. 31. Yesterday, chief prosecutor Hung Tai-wen (洪泰文) said he planned to summon ministry officials to clarify some points in the report.

For its part, the ministry plans to summon Soong's donors for questioning soon to investigate possible tax evasion, according to ministry officials. Both the donors and recipients of contributions dating back to 1992 will be summoned, the officials said.

Apart from the finance ministry and the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau are also conducting probes into Soong's financial affairs.

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