Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Fake fortuneteller investigated for fraud of millions

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday said that prosecutors had begun their investigation into an alleged fraud case in which former China Development Holding Corp chairman Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) paid NT$20 million to an unidentified fortuneteller who promised him that he would not be indicted.

"Prosecutor Su Han-teh (絲漢德) is in charge of the investigation. Special agents from the Bureau of Investigation will also assist him," said Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達), spokesman for the prosecutors' office.

According to Chen, the order to start investigating came directly from Prosecutor-General Morley Shih (施茂林) because the alleged fraud case has a bearing on the reputation of Taiwan's judicial system.

"It is necessary to figure out whether it is true or not," Chen said. "If it is true, we have to punish the suspect properly. If not, we have to clear our name."

A local Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday morning that Liu paid NT$20 million to a famous fortuneteller in return for his help.

The fortuneteller promised Liu he would introduce him to "heavy-weight" people with close connections to prosecutors and politicians, who would help Liu escape indictment for his involvement in a corporate scandal.

However, the fortuneteller did not carry out his promise after receiving the money and Liu was indicted on eight charges relating to 12 corporate scandals.

It was recommended on June 6 that he receive a 16-year prison sentence.

According to the report, the alleged fraud took place while Liu was behind bars at the Taipei Detention House, but no exact date was given.

The fortuneteller was not identified but was described as a close friend of Liu's.

The report said the fraud case was not made public until Liu decided to dismiss his defense counsels on July 2.

When his attorneys, Chung Yung-sheng (鍾永盛) and Chang Chuan (張權), asked him why he wanted to terminate their contract, Liu told them what happened and complained that they were not helping him with all their hearts.

Liu's new defense counsel is Chen Sung-tung (陳松棟). He will start acting for Liu on July 17.

However, as of press time yesterday, Liu kept denying all allegations. He said the fact that he relieved his defense counsels of their duty has nothing to do with their performance in court.

"The trial will prove me innocent. As a result, I do not need that many lawyers, do I? Maybe I do not need a lawyer at all," Liu said. "As for the fraud case, it is just a rumor."

In addition to his NT$60 million bail, which is the highest amount posted in Taiwan's judicial history, Liu has paid NT$4 million in down payments to Chung and Chang for their legal services.

However, it is estimated Liu will have to pay them another NT$18 million if he wishes to retain their legal services until the trial's conclusion.

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