Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Opposition lawmakers pan donation of stock profits

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The president's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming's (趙建銘) idea to donate his family's stock profits -- amid allegations they were earned through insider trading -- failed to appease opposition legislators yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) has accused Chao of buying 20 million shares of Taiwan Development Corp (TDC) stock under the name of his mother, Chien Shui-mien (簡水綿), after learning inside information about the company.

The KMT caucus yesterday called on prosecutors and the investigation bureau to clear up the matter as soon as possible.

"The donation is never a papal ticket. The Chao family might have committed a type of financial crime," KMT Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said Chao was compelled to make the donation, as he would never be able to feel at ease if he kept the profits.

Meanwhile, Chiu yesterday accused Chao of more misconduct.

Chiu said Chao Chien-hsun (趙建勳), Chao's younger brother, had also bought TDC shares after learning from insiders that they were set to rise.

"Chao Chien-ming's brother works in the Chi Mei Medical Center, and he hawked TDC shares to his colleagues there," Chiu said.

Chiu said Chang Po-Shin (張柏欣), chairman of Chang Hwa Bank, told Chao the share price was set to rise and encouraged him to buy them in exchange for the government's support for him to retain his post.

Chang was worried he might be asked to step down as chairman after Chang Hwa Bank was merged into Taishin Financial Holdings, Chiu said.

"But one day after the [Chao family's] shares deal was completed, Chang got a promise from Thomas Wu [吳東亮], chairman of Taishin Financial Holdings, that he would be able to keep his post. What a coincidence," Chiu said.

Responding to a series of corruption cases involving government officials and members of the first family, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday criticized both the president and the government, saying they were incompetent and becoming corrupt "at a speed exceeding everyone's imagination."

"You have besmirched Taiwan's dignity," Ma said of the president yesterday during the party's central standing committee.

"The global competitiveness report for this year moved Taiwan from 11th place to 18th. Taiwan was surpassed by Korea last year, and could be exceeded by China soon," he said.

In response to the committee's discussion on ways to prevent more corruption cases, Ma asked the party caucus to make laws to fight corruption.

"The Democratic Progressive Party pledged to establish a clean and efficient government, but the real situation runs counter to their vows ... As the opposition party, we need to take responsibility to prevent further corruption in the government," he said.

KMT Legislator Wu suggested that Ma lead a national anti-corruption movement.

Ma told the party's policy committee and think tank to research the issues and pledged to be more active in preventing the government from becoming more corrupt.

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