Sat, Mar 23, 2002 - Page 3 News List

TSU, PFP at war over NSB accounts

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

A battle is raging in the legislature between the PFP and TSU over the disclosure of secret accounts of the National Security Bureau (NSB), as members of the two parties came out in defense of their mentors -- PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), spiritual leader of the TSU.

While the TSU insists that Soong masterminded the NSB-account revelations, PFP lawmakers dismissed the accusations and demanded that the TSU provide proof, otherwise they would take legal action.

After the China Times and Next magazine reported on Wed-nesday that the former president had set up secret accounts under the NSB and accused him of illegally using national funds, the TSU has claimed that Soong must be associated with the exposure.

The reports cited information believed to have been provided by the NSB's former chief cashier, Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), who is wanted by authorities for allegedly embezzling NT$192 million.

They claimed that the two secret accounts, holding a combined value of NT$3.5 billion, were not subject to legislative monitoring and had in essence become Lee's "private stash" during his presidency.

Lee allegedly used the funds to strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic ties, to engage in "under-the-table" research on international affairs and to send presents to his subordinates, the reports said.

TSU legislative whip Hsu Den-koun (許登宮) said yesterday that "reliable sources" told him that the PFP was lying when it claimed that Soong had nothing to do with the matter.

He asked Soong to speak clearly on whether he had been in touch with Liu during his recent trip to the US.

The TSU also pointed out that Soong had met with PFP lawmakers Diane Lee (李慶安) and Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) on Tuesday to discuss the case before it was published in the media the next day.

"Soong did not only know everything about the case, he also headed the conspiracy," Hsu said.

Both Chou and Diane Lee denied having met with Soong on Tuesday. They asked the TSU to provide evidence supporting their claim, or else they would resort to legal measures.

TSU lawmaker Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said on Thursday that sources told him that four copies of discs containing the secret information supplied by Liu are circulating in public.

One copy is held by the China Times, another by Next magazine, and the whereabouts of the remaining two are unknown, according to Lo.

Diane Lee questioned how Lo got the information and "if Lo has been in touch with Liu?"

She urged the Control Yuan, the country's supreme watchdog body, to form a task force to get to the bottom of the accounts issue, saying that Lee Teng-hui should be punished for his alleged misconduct.

Once Lee's closest aide, Soong parted ways with Lee after the former president backed Lien Chan (連戰) to run on his ticket in the 1996 presidential election. In addition, it is widely believed that Soong blames Lee for implicating him in the Chung Hsing Bills case (興票案).

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