Sun, Jul 25, 2004 - Page 2 News List

James Soong faces prison in tax debt case

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei Administrative High Court yesterday said that its judges will hear the case concerning People First Party Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) tax problems on Thursday to decide whether he has to pay off the debt.

"The court has completed all necessary paperwork and will begin the hearings at 2:30pm on July 29. Everybody must pay taxes, no matter who they are," a court press release stated.

Soong is charged with owing NT$90 million (US$2.65 million) in taxes.

If the court rules against Soong, he will have to pay the debt or risk being sentenced to prison for up to six months.

The process will be repeated until he pays the debt.

Soong's tax problem stems from the period from 1996 to 1998. He is accused of taking advantage of 20 bank accounts and wiring money to US bank accounts belonging to family members, including his son Soong Chen-yuan (宋鎮遠) and daughter-in-law Wen Chiu-huei (溫久慧), as well as many other members of Wen's family. The total amount transferred was NT$380 million.

The Ministry of Finance has demanded that Soong pay tax on the transferred amounts, but Soong never paid, because he said that he was still the owner of the money and that he used the US bank accounts himself, despite their being in relatives' names.

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