Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Chao's father accused of embezzling donation

QUESTIONS In 2003, a businessman deposited a large sum of money in an account owned by Chao Yu-chu, and prosecutors want to know what he did with the money

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The investigation into allegations of insider trading by members of the president's extended family has uncovered a NT$10 million (US$308,166) deposit that was apparently embezzled.

As investigators sift through the bank records of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son in-law, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), and his family, prosecutors discovered that Chao's father had a large sum of money deposited in one of his accounts by a prominent businessman.

Prosecutors on Friday summoned Chao Yu-chu (趙玉柱) for questioning on suspicion of embezzlement, but released him on bail at 11pm.

"Chao Chien-ming's father, Chao Yu-chu, was released on NT$2 million (US$61,660) bail, but he has been prohibited from leaving the country," said Taipei District Prosecutors' Office Spokesman Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑) yesterday.

After learning that Chao Yu-chu's bail had been approved, son Chao Chien-hsun (趙建勳) quickly brought NT$2 million cash to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, enabling Chao Yu-chu to leave the prosecutors' office at around midnight.

Prosecutors have been working to uncover the origins of several deposits made into bank accounts owned by Chao Yu-chu and his wife Chien Shui-mien (簡水綿).

Among the deposits, prosecutors discovered that in 2003, Eslite Books Chairman Robert Wu (吳清友) deposited NT$10 million in one of Chao Yu-chu's accounts.

The Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau last week summoned Wu to question him about the deposit.

Wu told reporters after the questioning session that the money had been a "donation" to the Taiwan Table Tennis Association. Chao Yu-chu, the head of the association, controlled the account into which the money was deposited.

Since Chao Yu-chu did not then transfer the money into one of the association's accounts, prosecutors suspect Chao Yu-chu had embezzled the money.

Lin said Chao Yu-chu failed to explain why the money was still in his account.

Chao Chien-ming, who was detained on suspicion of insider trading involving shares in Taiwan Development Corp (TDC), has insisted that he is innocent, telling prosecutors that it was not him, but his father who had purchased the TDC shares.

Chao Yu-chu also told prosecutors he was responsible for buying the TDC shares, saying his son Chen Chien-ming had told him nothing about the company.

Chao Chien-ming on Friday was given a polygraph examination, despite the fact that they are inadmissible in court and have proven to be completely unreliable in terms of indicating whether someone is lying or not.

Local Chinese-language newspapers reported that Chao did not pass the examination, because the examination instrument indicated an emotional response when investigators asked sensitive questions.

Lin yesterday refused to comment on the matter.

He said the results of a polygraph examination could only be used as "a reference" by prosecutors or judges.

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