Tue, Nov 29, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Officials were paid to endorse frigate deal, legislator says

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

High-ranking Taiwanese military officials were paid an estimated US$20 million in commissions to endorse the controversial French frigate deal in 1991, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) told the legislature's Judiciary Committee that US$20 million of the US$486 million (NT$16.3 billion) in commissions -- or about 18 percent of the US$2.7 billion price tag for six Lafayette-class frigates purchased from France in 1991 -- went to high-ranking Taiwanese military officials via former captain Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆) and his elder brother Kuo Wen-tien (郭問天).

Hsu said that former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) had asked the Ministry of National Defense on May 8, 1989, to halt negotiations with South Korea about a possible frigate purchase deal.

Between Sept. 2 and Sept. 17, 1989, six high-ranking military officials, including Kuo Li-heng, former vice admiral Lei Hsueh-ming (雷學明), former captain Kang Shih-chun (康世淳) and former commander Cheng Chih-po (程志波), proposed a change of plans after a trip to France, Hsu said.

The defense ministry accepted a proposal on Oct. 5, 1989, to purchase Lafayette-class frigates from France on the recommendation of Kuo Li-heng, Lei, Kang, Cheng, former vice admiral Yao Neng-chun (姚能君), former rear admiral Wang Chin-sheng (王琴生) and former captain Hsuan Peng-lai (宣蓬萊).

Hsu said yesterday that navy captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓) was murdered in 1993 because he had rejected a NT$20 million kickback.

Hsu said that Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), an agent for Thomson-CSF, the French company that sold the frigates to Taiwan, filed a defamation suit on Aug. 17, 2001, against Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏), then an advisor to the president, who had allegedly accused Wang of killing Yin. Because Wang had asked for NT$20 million in compensation and reportedly said he would donate the money to Yin's bereaved family if he wins the suit, Hsu argued that the NT$20 million would equal Yin's kickback.

The DPP has claimed that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) used a woman named Liu Li-li (劉莉莉) to distribute US$100 million to officials from the Chinese Communist Party and People's Liberation Army.

People First Party Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) yesterday dismissed the DPP's claim as a "lousy screenplay."

Lin said he has personally talked with Hao, who denied that he knows Liu.

Lin called on the DPP to produce proof, as Hao is considering filing a lawsuit if the DPP fails to offer a satisfactory explanation.

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