Sat, Nov 06, 2004 - Page 3 News List

US firm to cover bulk of Lien, Soong lawsuits' costs

CNA , TAIPEI

California-based Kingston Tech-nology Corp will foot part of the bill for the March 20 presidential election vote recount and the legal costs for the suit filed by the pan-blue alliance to try to have the election result nullified.

On Thursday, the Taiwan High Court upheld President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) re-election.

It also ruled that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) would have to pay a portion of the legal costs of the suit and the nationwide vote recount, which together are estimated at more than NT$77 million (US$2.3 million).

As a result of Kingston's offer, Lien and Soong will only have to pay about NT$16.96 million for the expenses. The KMT-PFP ticket had already put forward NT$60 million as a guarantee prior to the start of the recount on May 10 of the 16,507,179 ballots.

Kingston Tech, co-founded by Chinese-Americans John Tu (杜紀川) and David Sun (孫大衛), donated NT$100 million back in April to help pay for the recount in the hopes of ending the election controversy. Sun gave the private Judicial Reform Society the rights to manage the fund in Taipei.

A spokesman for the society said on Thursday that so long as Lien and Soong do not appeal, the company will make the NT$16.96 million payment at once.

The money left over after Lien and Soong's legal fees are paid should go to charity to promote ethnic harmony in the country in accordance with Sun's intentions when he made the donation, the spokesman said.

Upon making the donation in April, Sun said it was non-political and had nothing to do with his pro-blue camp sentiments.

"Ethnic divisions appeared after the election, and the generosity and forbearance among the people was destroyed," he claimed at the time.

Kingston Tech is one of the leading module manufacturers in the world. Sun and Tu became millionaires when they sold a large chunk of their memory chip-making company in 1996 and made headlines when they decided to share US$100 million of the windfall with their employees, which numbered roughly 450 at the time.

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