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Sat, Sep 15, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Newspaper executives to do battle in Taipei court

CONTROVERSIAL APPOINTMENT Chang Fu-tai says his chairmanship at a local newspaper was never valid and now he's filed forgery charges against his predecessor

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The past year has been a rocky one for the cash-strapped Independence Evening Post (自立晚報) and yesterday was no exception.

Chang Fu-tai (張福泰), who was appointed a little over a month ago to head the newspaper and save it from its financial woes, yesterday claimed his chairmanship was never valid.

Chang said he has filed forgery charges with the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office against his predecessor, Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), for falsifying documents that recorded the board's selection process of him as the new head of the newspaper.

"The selection process was unlawful and invalid. I don't enjoy the status of chairman at all," Chang said.

On July 26, it was widely reported that Chang, a doctor of Chinese medicine and chairman of the Green Peace Radio Station (綠色和平), succeeded Wang as the Post's chairman.

Chang, however, said yesterday that he was being used by Wang as a "tool to evade due legal responsibilities."

Before Chang was reported to have taken over at the newspaper, Wang already owed him NT$12 million in loans. Some of those loans had been given to Wang in the name of the newspaper, others were personal loans.

According to Chang, he never signed any documents for the company or took part in any board meetings over the past month and a half.

Chang said he discovered the ploy only a few weeks ago, when he found out that Wang still owed the paper NT$9 million in payment for the employees' labor insurance and NT$12 million in pay to the paper's deliverers.

Wang denied all of Chang's accusations yesterday.

He said he has maintained no connection with the Post since he stepped down from the chairmanship on July 26, urging Chang to take up his responsibility to cope with the paper's financial problems.

Wang said the financial condition of the Post was transparent under his leadership and that he lost hundreds of millions of NT dollars investing in the paper.

Members of the Post's workers' union yesterday protested the buck-passing between the old and new management.

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