Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT's Chiu Yi files suit against Chen Shui-bian

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) filed a lawsuit against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday, alleging that the Presidential Office had submitted falsified receipts for reimbursement under its special allowances expenditure budget.

Chiu filed the lawsuit with the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office "Black Gold" Investigation Center, a special task force established to crack down on political corruption.

Chiu made the accusation based on receipts that he said he received from Ligi Lee (李慧芬), an Australian-based designer and the director of a company called Taiwan Ang.

Chiu quoted Ligi Lee as saying that her cousin Lee Bi-chun (李碧君), who is a close friend of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), had given Wu some of Ligi Lee's receipts. Chiu said that he suspected that Wu submitted the receipts as her own and sought reimbursement.

Chiu presented copies of more than 100 receipts issued by the Taipei Grand Hyatt Hotel to Ligi Lee between 2003 and last year at a press conference yesterday.

He said that 44 of the receipts, amounting to NT$3.36 million (US$102,220), were given by Lee Bi-chun to Wu.

The Presidential Office issued a statement on Wednesday saying that all reimbursements had been handled according to the regulations.

The statement didn't comment on whether or not members of the first family had submitted receipts from the Grand Hyatt Hotel, citing confidentiality.

An anonymous Presidential Office official was quoted yesterday by the Chinese-language Liberty Times, the Taipei Times' sister paper, as saying that receipts received from Lee Bi-chun had indeed been submitted for reimbursement. However, the report said that the money had not gone to Wu, but to a person who acted as a go-between with the nation's de facto diplomatic mission in Australia.

The paper said the government had commissioned an investor based in Australia to seek to enhance the relationship between Taiwan and Australia. The report claimed that the secret project began in 2003, when China was making advances to Australia, and was called the "South Route Project."

The anonymous official told the paper that the go-between had requested reimbursement and the receipts from Lee Bi-chun had been used for that purpose. The report added that the Presidential Office had signed invoices from the go-between.

The Presidential Office refused to comment on the report yesterday.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday that he had never heard of a "South Route Project."

Huang was deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office before his appointment as minister of foreign affairs in January.

"I have never heard of [the `South Route Project'] and know nothing about it, so I cannot comment on it," Huang told reporters.

Additional reporting by Chang Yun-ping

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