A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman yesterday produced what he said was proof that allegations about the president's "secret" bank account were spurious, but the opposition legislator who made the charges stood by his claim that the account was illicit.
The DPP's Tsai Huang-liang (
"The account number that Chiu alleged was that of the president's `secret' account is the same as the fund-raising account [in the ad], which was a totally open account," Tsai said.
Tsai made the comments while showing the press an ad that was first run in the March 14, 2004 edition of the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
He said that Chiu had intentionally smeared the president, and urged the president to sue Chiu.
Last Friday, Chiu held a press conference to accuse the president of opening a "secret" account, depositing about NT$169 million (US$5.15 million) into it and later transferring funds abroad.
After hearing about Chiu's accusations, some high-ranking officials of the Presidential Office identified the bank account cited by Chiu as a fund-raising account that the DPP established so voters could donate to the president's re-election bid during the 2004 presidential election, Tsai said yesterday.
But Chiu has further alleged that Chen's two children made four deposits into the account at Taishin International Bank, which he said demonstrated that it was not merely a campaign war chest.
However, since banks were closed during the weekend, DPP employees from the Department of Culture and Information spent all Sunday searching for the campaign ad printed with the fund-raising bank account in the newspaper archives of the National Library on Sunday, in order to demonstrate that Chiu's accusation was false, Tsai said.
Tsai also pointed out that the fundraising account was opened on Jan. 5, 2004 and that the account balance was about NT$1.7 million on April, 1, 2004 -- nowhere near the NT$169 million amount that Chiu cited.
"Chiu intentionally made the false accusation during the weekend so that the DPP and the Presidential Office was unable to check the banks to refute Chiu's charges," Tsai said. "Chiu took advantage of the weekend and attained his goal of vilifying the president, which is despicable."
"We think the Presidential Office should file a lawsuit against Chiu so that Chiu will stop his baseless muckraking," Tsai said.
Not giving up
But Chiu yesterday stuck to his guns, arguing that the account could not have been only for campaign purposes. Chiu said that Chen was already using the account before it was publicly announced as an account for receiving campaign donations.
"If [the account] was used for receiving political donations, why were there already some funds deposited before [Chen's camp] declared that it was an account open to donations for Chen's campaign for the 2004 presidential election?" Chiu said.
"The DPP said that the account was made known to the public on March 14, 2004. However, before then, five deposits, amounting to NT$24.5 million, were made into the account," Chiu said. "The more the [DPP] says, the more lies emerge."