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Wed, Aug 08, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutor's Swiss trip yields evidence in frigate case

STAFF WRITER

A prosecutor who was ordered to investigate the Lafayette frigate scandal in Switzerland returned home yesterday with some important information that might help unravel the kickback mystery, the Chinese-language media reported yesterday.

Sources said that prosecutor Lo Jung-chien (羅榮乾) collected evidence related to the scandal, including a record of bank deposits made there by Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), former agent of French frigate maker Thomson CSF (now known as Thales).

In order to obtain the names of those individuals receiving kickbacks from Taiwan's purchase of six French-made Lafayette-class frigates, Lu contacted Swiss authorities in mid-June requesting permission to examine all of Wang's accounts and financial documents.

Lu also indicated at the time that Taiwan would be willing to help with any Swiss investigation involving Wang.

However, the Swiss banks refused to provide Lo with the relevant account numbers or names in a bid to protect their reputations.

In related news, People First Party Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) yesterday demanded that the group investigating the scandal publicly explain the disappearance of a secret account allegedly involved in the laundering of money related to the alleged kickbacks.

Lee said high-ranking officials in former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) administration are apparently linked to the snowballing frigate scandal and the mysterious death of the late captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓).

The legislator stressed that since investigators have been unwilling to investigate the financial details, he has not ruled out the possibility of legal measures to help unravel the case.

He said about six months ago he questioned Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), head of the KMT administrative committee, about the rumor that when former president Lee served as KMT chairman, some of the chairman's money was transferred into Lee's spokesman, Su Chih-cheng's (蘇志誠), account. Lee says Chang confirmed the rumor at that point but that prosecutors have not launched investigations into it.

Unraveling a mystery

* Sources say the prosecutor obtained a record of deposits made in Switzerland by Andrew Wang, former agent of Thomson CSF.

* Swiss banks had said the prosecutor would not be given access to such bank records.

* The prosecutor has not spoken publicly on the evidence.


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