Tue, Feb 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Tuntex chief's letters spark furor


One of the nation's 10-most wanted fugitives, former Tuntex Group president Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪), created a stir yesterday when lawmakers released three letters from him in which he accused President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of accepting political contributions from him and wrongly pressing charges against him.

The fugitive's letters had been faxed from China to several pan-blue camp legislators.

However, while the much of the media attention was focused yesterday on whether the president had accepted any contributions from the tycoon, many people wondered how the businessman could be investing so heavily in China given the size of the debts he left in Taiwan.

Chen Yu-hao was charged with embezzling NT$800 million from Tung Hua Development Corp and owes more than NT$23 billion to state-run banks.

The Taipei District Court had issued an arrest warrant for him last May when it listed him and his wife, Lin Fu-mei (林富美), as fugitives after they failed to attend hearings related to their indictments on breach-of-trust charges.

According to a report by the Win-Win Weekly last July, the tycoon and his companies have debts as much as NT$100 billion in this country.

This includes money owed by Grand Union Construction Co, a major holding company that changed its name from Tuntex Group Construction Co; Tung Hua Development Corp, which built the Daguan housing district in Hsintien City; Tuntex Distinct Corp and Tuntex Petrochemicals, in which Chen Yu-hao owns 50 percent of the shares.

He reportedly arrived in Beijing on June 13 last year.

He remains an influential magnate in the US, Thailand and China. In particular the Xiamen Xianglu Group, which paid more than 600 million yuan in taxes last year, has set a stable foundation for him to cultivate his influence in China, where his businesses are growing.

He helped build Donglian Mansion near Beijing's Desheng Gate in partnership with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Beijing City Government. The building houses some city government offices.

The tycoon has said the Tuntex group now exists in name only in Taiwan. Over the past few years, he has divided the conglomerate into independent entities so that the good companies could avoid being encumbered by the financially unsound ones.

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