Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ma attacked over party, personal finances

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor and Chinese Nation-alist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) drew criticism yesterday over his party's and his personal finances, as pan-green city councilors accused Ma and the KMT of improperly steering funds to two private foundations, and a pan-green mayoral candidate pressed him to clarify his personal accounts.

Ma dismissed all of the allegations as groundless.

The councilors alleged that the KMT has improperly channeled funds to two foundations Ma set up -- the New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation and Dwen An Social Welfare Foundation. Directors of the New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation were involved in the recent sale of a KMT media asset, the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC), while the Dwen An Social Welfare Foundation received large subsidies from the city's social welfare department, the councilors said.

"The CMPC was sold twice, and members of the New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation were involved in the deal. It's easy to see that the KMT has privatized its illegal assets and then put them in the foundation's hands. The foundation is the party's money-laundering center," said Taipei City Councilor Luo Zong-sheng (羅宗勝) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday during a question-and-answer session.

The KMT sold the three media assets it owned -- China Television Co (CTV), the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) and the CMPC -- to the China Times Group last December for NT$9.3 billion (US$280.68 million).

The party recently helped the group sell the CMPC to Gou Tai-chiang (郭台強), chairman of the Council for Industrial and Commercial Development and brother of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), for NT$3 billion.

Terry Gou and the new CMPC chairman, KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), are both directors of the New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation.

Ma denied any impropriety in the CMPC sale, and said the foundation had no responsibility for its directors' outside activities.

"What the directors do outside of the foundation does not need to be reported to the foundation," he said.

Meanwhile, DPP Taipei City Councilwoman Li Wen-ying (李文英)said the Dwen An Social Welfare Foundation had received NT$1 million per year in subsidies from the city's social welfare department for the last five years.

She alleged that the foundation received special treatment because Ma improperly steered city funds its way.

Ma denied that he had been involved in city decisions on funding the foundation.

"We have never interfered with the operations of the foundation after its establishment," he said.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union's Taipei mayoral candidate Clara Chou (周玉蔻) made a scene yesterday in the council's press room, demanding that Ma clarify his financial situation.

Chou recently alleged that Ma may have improperly benefited from funds he received for his mayoral campaigns.

But Ma walked into the council meeting without responding to her.

"How can you ignore my questions? Don't leave!" she shouted at Ma as he entered.

Chou was escorted out of the building by security.

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