Fri, Nov 26, 2004 - Page 3 News List

KMT denies selling Central Investment

PARTY ASSETS The Chinese Nationalist Party and Chinatrust chairman Jeffrey Koo both denied reports that Koo's firm or a mysterious foreigner had bought the company

STAFF WRITER

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co chairman Jeffrey Koo (辜濂松) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday denied media reports that Chinatrust had bought Central Investment Holding Co from the KMT.

Several Chinese-language dailies reported yesterday that the KMT had sold Central Investment for NT$17 billion late last month, and that it was very likely the Koo family was behind the deal.

The buyer was described as a mysterious overseas figure.

It was further reported that Chinatrust would pay NT$2 billion as the first installment to help the KMT through its current financial crisis.

Board shuffled

According to the reports, Central Investment had announced that it had replaced two of its five board members on Tuesday.

One of the new board members is reported to be Walter Wang (王華特), the son of China Life Insurance Co chairman Wang Chang-ching (王章清).

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) revealed last month that Walter Wang, who is in charge of a business consulting company, had been helping the KMT with the sale of Central Investment, and that he was trying to seal the deal between the KMT and Chinatrust.

An anonymous DPP official suggested to a Chinese-language daily that the board reshuffle at Central Investment might indicate that Chinatrust had bought the corporation, although no one has been able to offer any concrete evidence of the sale.

Both the KMT and Koo yesterday denied that they had struck a deal.

Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), director general of the KMT's administration and management committee, said that the KMT would not try to sell Central Investment before the legislative elections.

"The KMT will never sell off Central Investment before the legislative election. The DPP is using its administrative advantages to scare off potential buyers, and no buyers dare to get in touch any-more," Chang said.

Chang pointed out that although the party had signed letters of intent with certain buyers, it had never contacted Chinatrust about the sale.

Denial

Koo also denied that Chinatrust bought Central Investment.

"No, no," Koo said when questioned about whether Chinatrust had bought Central Investment.

Koo said that no subsidiary of Chinatrust would buy Central Investment either.

The Financial Supervisory Commission said yesterday such a sale does not fall within its jurisdiction.

The DPP caucus, meanwhile, said the rumored new buyer of Central Investment could end up with nothing, since the KMT's party assets might eventually all be returned to the national treasury.

The DPP caucus also demanded the banks in which the government holds stakes should now demand the repayment of the loans they had made to Central Investment, since the company's management has been transferred to the unknown and dubious overseas figure.

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