Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Chao didn't confess: prosecutors

CLARIFICATION Responding to media reports that Chao Chien-ming had admitted wrongdoing, prosecutors said he had not confessed, but that his attitude had changed

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors yesterday said that the president's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), was starting to talk more, but denied that this meant he had admitted to any crimes.

"The difference is, he used to deny everything. But now, he says, `Well, I have heard this. I have heard that.' However, it does not mean he has admitted to them [instances of wrongdoing]," said Taipei prosecutor Hsu Yung-chin (許永欽).

Hsu is in charge of an investigation into the alleged manipulation of Taiwan Development Corp (TDC) shares involving Chao.

Hsu made the remarks in response to reports in local Chinese-language newspapers -- including the United Daily News and the China Times -- which said yesterday that Chao's defense was shaky and he would tell prosecutors more, and that he had admitted to some wrongdoing.

The United Daily News report said that Chao had told prosecutors during a closed-door investigative hearing on Wednesday that he had met with Su Teh-jien (蘇德建), the former chairman of TDC, during a dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

At that dinner, Su and he talked about the manipulation of TDC's stock price and made a deal on the purchase of TDC's shares, the story said.

The story also quoted parts of the conversation between Hsu and Chao during the hearing -- the contents of which are not supposed to be released as they are subject to a gag order.

During the hearing, Hsu reportedly asked Chao whether he was aware of the verdict in the "vultures" insider-trading scandal. Hsu told Chao that he was the prosecutor who had wrapped up that case, and that in his indictment he had asked the judges to suspend or decrease the length of sentences for certain defendants who had helped prosecutors during the investigation. The judges had approved and followed his request, Hsu said, apparently implying that Chao would be given the same treatment if he talked.

The report also said that prosecutors would change their approach toward Chao, and would no longer pressure him to admit to crimes, instead beginning "negotiations" with him to cut a deal for a potentially shorter sentence in a future indictment.

In response, Hsu said Chao had not confessed to anything. But Hsu did not deny that prosecutors were changing their focus.

Chief Prosecutor Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) -- who is Hsu's superior officer -- said that Chao's attitude had changed during the last hearing.

"We are quite confident of breaking down his defenses in the near future because it is quite possible he will tell us more now that he is eager to be released as soon as possible," Lin said.

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