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Tue, Dec 18, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Investigator says Lee's wife didn't flee with millions

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former first lady Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠) is innocent of charges that she fled to the US with millions of dollars in cash following the presidential election last year, according to the former bureau director of the Investigation Bureau.

Wang Kuang-yu (王光宇) said that the bureau's investigations found that there was no truth to the charges and that the bureau had closed the case.

Wang's appearance at the Taipei District Court was the first time in history that the investigation bureau chief was asked to testify in a case which is under the bureau's investigation.

Wang said the bureau had launched investigations after reports that New Party legislators Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) and Elmer Feng (馮滬祥), as well as Tai Chi (戴錡), a New Party member of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, claimed that Tseng had fled to the US with US$85 million in cash. The reports also stated that the lawmakers alleged that Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) wife hid the money and other valuables in a suitcase when she left the country shortly after the presidential election on March 18 last year.

Hsieh accused Lee of making his wife take the amount to the US soon after the KMT's defeat in the presidential election. Angry protesters demonstrated against Lee in front of the KMT headquarters on March 19.

The reports also said that the money was returned by US customs officials because it exceeded the amount of money that can be taken into the US.

The former bureau chief said that, during the period, there were four remissions of US dollars to Taiwan, but the investigation found that the US currency was purchased by the Bank of America.

The vice chairman of the Bank of America, Liu Mao-fang (劉懋芳) and manager Su Yi-ling (蘇宜玲) also testified at the hearing.

Wang said that, as he was present at the court as an ordinary citizen, he therefore did not have any official documents to prove his testimony. He said that the bureau considered the case closed after the charges proved to be ungrounded.

On July 27 last year, Lee's wife asked for NT$300 million in damages from Fung and Hsieh for what she said were disparaging remarks on her character by the lawmakers.

Feng is currently on trial for allegedly defaming the former first lady. A counter-suit accuses Tseng of bringing false charges against Feng.

Feng held a press conference on March 23 last year, during which he had a telephone discussion with Tai Chi, who was in the US and claimed to have evidence about Tseng's alleged plan to fly to the US with suitcases of money.

Both Feng and Hsieh attended the hearing yesterday.

The judge said the next hearing is scheduled to be on March 4 of next year.

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