Sat, May 27, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chao not given special treatment: warden

BEHIND BARS A deputy warden said the president's son-in-law had been treated just like other detainees, while investigators followed up on suspicions of bribery

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whips Lan Mei-chin, Ker Chien-ming and Chen Chin-jun, left to right, yesterday apologize to the public over the recent scandals relating to President Chen Shui-bian's family members.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), has not enjoyed special treatment since being locked up on Thursday at the Taipei Detention Center for alleged involvement in an insider trading case, a spokesman for the center said yesterday.

Wu Man-ying (巫滿盈), deputy warden of the Taipei Detention Center, said that Chao had not made any particular requests after his arrival at the center, and that he had followed normal procedures.

This is the first time in the nation's history that a member of the first family has been detained by court order.

According to Wu, Chao looked tired when he first arrived at the center. The previous night he had been questioned for 10 hours about the role he played in the alleged insider trading of Taiwan Development Corp shares. After a night's rest, he seemed to be in good spirits, Wu said.

Wu said that Chao was sharing a cell with a man charged with corruption while he was a public office-holder.

The deputy warden said that as a newcomer, Chao was not allowed to go outdoors for exercise on Thursday, but that he did go outside with other inmates yesterday.

The Taipei District Court granted a request by public prosecutors to detain Chao and the three other suspects. The decision was made after the court obtained evidence that the four made huge profits by purchasing millions of shares of the near-bankrupt Taiwan Development Corp after obtaining inside information that the company was going to get a NT$16 billion syndicated loan from 29 financial institutions.

Prosecutors are scheduled to summon Liu Teng-cheng (劉燈城), director general of National Treasury Agency under the Ministry of Finance, on Monday for questioning in connection with the scandal.

Liu is head of a task force that oversees government-appointed representatives at financial institutions. Liu served as chairman of the Bank of Taiwan when the lender arranged a NT$16.5 billion (US$515.1 million) syndicated loan to TDC last August.

Searches

Also yesterday, Bureau of Investigation agents carried out searches at pharmaceutical companies for evidence that one or more of the firms may have bribed Chao.

Investigators suspect that Chao, an osteopath at National Taiwan University Hospital, may have accepted bribes from drug firms after discovering three suspicious deposits of NT$9 million (US$280,000) each in his father's bank account. Investigators believe one or more medical suppliers may have tried to buy Chao's influence at the hospital in order to boost their sales.

The hospital on Thursday stripped Chao of his professional duties after he was detained.

Ticket booking

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) claimed yesterday that Chao and his wife booked airline tickets to Japan on May 16, four days after Chao's involvement in the alleged insider trading was exposed.

"Chao and Chen need to explain why they wanted to go abroad at a time when there was a rumor that Chao might be summoned to court for questioning," Chiu told a press conference.

Chiu accused Chao and his wife of trying to flee abroad to avoid being investigated, and displayed China Airlines booking records to back up his claims.

The booking records showed that Chao and Chen also booked tickets for their two sons. Chao's return date was booked for May 25 and Chen's was booked for June 3.

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