Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Wider probe into Lafayette sale urged

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two DPP lawmakers yesterday urged judicial authorities not to spare any former KMT government officials, including former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), during investigations into the Lafayette scandal.

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) and his colleague Chiu Chung-chin (邱創進) held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday to press their demand for a wider investigation.

They said that more top-ranking government officials must have played a part in the purchase of six Lafayette-class frigates in the early 1990s in light of the huge kickbacks involved.

Politicians of all stripes have argued over whether PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) took US$400-million kickbacks in 1991 in his capacity as KMT secretary-general after former French foreign minister Roland Dumas said in a recent interview that the ruling party received kickbacks.

"While many have disputed how best to translate Dumas' allegations, let's not forget he did mention that huge kickbacks went to Taiwan's ruling party at that time," Yeh said. "A scandal of such a magnitude could not have been handled by any single person."

Yeh and Chiu said that Lee and two former premiers -- Lee Huan (李煥) and Hau Po-tsun (郝柏村) -- should be listed as key suspects, along with the late Presidential Office secretary-general Chiang Yang-shih (蔣彥士).

Their comments were the first time that DPP politicians have openly linked Lee, a key ally of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), to the scandal.

They said that as the then-president, commander of armed forces and KMT chairman, Lee should give an account of his role in the deal.

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