Wed, Mar 27, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Lee says he is being treated unfairly

HITTING BACK The former president said that though the media has been `defaming' him, he has no reservations about the way in which he used secret state security funds

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said his formalization and documentation of the secret accounts should be considered a positive contribution to the country, and he feels he is being treated unfairly by the media and opposition politicians, according to TSU lawmaker Lo Chih-ming (羅志明).

"The ex-president told me that there was no way Taiwan could break through international barriers without these accounts, and he has no qualms about the media's revelation, because he never put one cent into his own pocket," Lo said.

"[Lee] said he did not care much about the media's deliberate defamation [of himself]. What he is really concerned about is that such a disclosure has undermined national security and the nation's diplomatic endeavors."

The ex-president has made no public comments since the media and opposition politicians accused him of illegally using national funds last week. But he has made his feelings known to the public through TSU lawmakers, who consider Lee their spiritual leader.

Lo said he visited Lee recently because Lee just moved to Taiyuan from his residence in Waishuangshi, Taipei.

Lee said he inherited these funds from former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), who had used the funds to spy on or wipe out pro-democracy activists. The assassination of Henry Liu (劉宜良) was done with the fund, Lo stated.

A journalist critical of the KMT regime, Liu (who went by the pen name Chiang Nan, 江南) was murdered on Oct. 15, 1984 in Dale City, California. The assassination rocked the country and the international community, as it was proven later that the murder was carried out under the Taiwan government's direction.

"At the time, I felt Taiwan needed to survive in international society, so I decided to set up two accounts, making use of the money I received from former administrations," Lee was quoted as saying

"An account code-named Fengtien (奉天) was used to strengthen Taiwan's international relations, and the other account, code-named Dangyang (當陽), was used to build intelligence networks within China and elsewhere."

As Taiwan could not escape from its international isolation simply by the efforts of officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these funds have played a crucial role, Lee told the lawmaker.

Lee said he could not accept the allegations when the media said that he embezzled public funds, according to Lo.

"The former president said nothing was done "secretly," as he had the permission of the directors of the National Security Bureau (NSB) for every decision he made," the lawmaker noted.

"Lee said that as he established a system in the NSB so that all of these decisions could be tracked, he feels himself a victim of injustice now that he is under attack."

The China Times and Next magazine revealed last week that under Lee's presidency, he had set up two secret accounts in the NSB which were beyond legislative supervision and that the funds had become Lee's "private stash."

Lee used these two accounts, with a combined value of NT$3.5 billion, to foster Taiwan's diplomatic ties, engage in "under-the-table" research on international affairs and send presents to his subordinates, the reports said.

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