Thu, Mar 21, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Liu case controversy: TSU blames Soong for NSB controversy

CONSPIRACY Arguing that the PFP party chief wants revenge against former president Lee Teng-hui, TSU lawmakers said that the PFP and the NSB were working hand-in-glove

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The PFP was behind the disclosure of secret accounts of the National Security Bureau (NSB) and the revelation was designed to harm ex-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and sour his relationship with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), TSU lawmakers charged yesterday.

They claimed that the reports yesterday in the China Times and Next magazine were instigated primarily by PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

They claimed Soong "maneuvered" the incident to take revenge on Lee because the PFP leader considers the former president to be the mastermind behind his being implicated in the Chung Hsing Bills Finance case (興票案).

The reports cited information believed to have been provided by the NSB's former chief cashier, colonel Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍) -- who is wanted by authorities for embezzling NT$192 million -- claiming that two secret accounts, with cash totaling NT$3.5 billion, had bypassed legislative monitoring and the legal system to become Lee's personal fund during his presidency, which he used to strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic ties and engage in "under the table" research on international affairs.

Liu fled overseas last July and his whereabouts remain unknown.

"Lee is not at fault, as it is a universal practice in democratic countries that presidents are entitled to form special accounts for the sake of national security and national interest," said TSU legislative whip Hsu Den-koun (許登宮).

TSU legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that evidence indicated that the PFP and the NSB were closely related.

Citing the China Times and Next magazine articles, which were published in editions last night, the PFP was the only party with first-hand information about the exposure, he said.

He also pointed out that in January, it was PFP lawmakers who first revealed that the bureau had a secret account set up during Lee's presidency to bypass the legislature's constitutional right to monitor government spending.

He said the party suspected that Soong might have been in contact with the fugitive Liu during a recent trip to the US.

"The PFP's omniscience about the case proves that the two organizations are tightly associated," he said.

Furthermore, some high-ranking PFP officials used to serve in the bureau and Hsieh Chung-liang (謝忠良), the writer of the story for Next magazine, is the younger brother of PFP spokesman Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉), Lo said.

"The exposure has nothing to do to with monitoring government operations. All of the accusations were merely attempts to harm Lee," he stated.

The TSU urged the government to track down the individual who leaked the information and mete out a "grave" punishment.

"Readers have the right to know, but only under the condition that the information not endanger the country's security interests," Hsu said.

They also expressed concern that the revelation would undermine Taiwan's diplomatic ties with other countries and cause an immeasurable loss if the now-published sensitive information is used by China to attack Taiwan.

What's more, the TSU worried that the revelations would put the lives of NSB agents at risk.

"The media and politicians should not become a megaphone for a fugitive [Liu]. What they should do is hand in the information to investigators when they receive the documents in question," the lawmakers said.

The former president, after returning home after being hospitalized for nine days for minor pneumonia and shoulder tendinitus, declined to comment on the allegations.

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