Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Hsu questioned over Sogo purchase

AFP , TAIPEI

A business tycoon was questioned by prosecutors yesterday over accusations that he illegally acquired the Pacific Sogo department store chain.

Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) , head of the Far Eastern Group cluster of hotel, construction, textiles and retailing businesses, denied any wrongdoing in the multi-billion dollar acquisition from Chang Min-chiang (章民強) in 2004.

"The Chang family brought false allegations against me, this is a waste of my time. They are jealous because Sogo is doing well now," Hsu said before his questioning.

Local media have alleged that Hsu had the backing of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) in return for thousands of dollars worth of vouchers.

Chang has accused Hsu of conspiring with another businessman, Lee Hung-lung (李恆隆), alleging that the tycoon had promised a huge pay-off if Lee won Wu's support in the deal.

Wu herself is being investigated for allegedly receiving from different channels, and then selling, NT$5 million (US$6,000) worth of Sogo vouchers in exchange for lobbying favors.

During questioning on Sunday as a witness, Wu reportedly admitted to receiving NT$100,000 worth of vouchers as a gift for her new-born grandson from Huang Fang-yen (黃芳彥), a physician and close family friend.

Huang confessed last week that he was given NT$1 million worth of Sogo vouchers by Lee.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last month that his wife had never "directly" accepted any vouchers from Hsu, Chang or Lee. He denied his wife did anything wrong and pledged to quit if she is found guilty of any offence.

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