Wed, Aug 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors, justice bureau accuse each other over Chiu leak

POINTING FINGERS The Presidential Office said it may sue KMT lawmaker Chiu Yi for alleging that President Chen had a `secret' bank account

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau and Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday traded accusations over who was responsible for leaking allegations about a "secret" presidential bank account to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅).

Last Friday, Chiu held a press conference accusing President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of opening a "secret" account, depositing around NT$169 million (US$5.15 million) into it and later transferring the funds abroad.

Chinese-language newspapers the China Times and the United Daily News reported that Chiu met with his sources, said to be two men, in a Taipei County motel, and that it was they who provided the information about the president's bank accounts in Taishin International Bank.

The reports said the two were suspected of being agents from the bureau's Money Laundering Prevention Center, which monitors the transfer of large amounts of cash overseas.

The bureau at a press conference on Monday denied that its agents were responsible for the leak, saying that Taipei prosecutor Hsu Yung-chin (徐永欽), who is in charge of the president's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming's (趙建銘) insider trading case, had ordered the bureau to find out about Chen's banks accounts during the insider trading investigation, and the bureau had reported its progress to Hsu.

The bureau's remarks were seen as letting the public know that the bureau was not the only agency to have knowledge of Chen's accounts.

Hsu yesterday told the media that the bureau's remarks were nonsense, saying it was intending to shift the blame for the leaking of confidential information to specific newspapers and Chiu.

The bureau has come in for criticism for leaking confidential information to the United Daily News and Chiu while investigating corruption allegations including Chao's insider trading case, the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp investigation and the Sogo Department voucher case.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Office yesterday said it was seriously considering whether to file a lawsuit against Chiu for alleging that President Chen had a "secret" bank account.

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said they were thinking of suing Chiu, but do not plan to make public any details of the account because it would violate the privacy of donors.

Lee made the remarks after Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) urged Chen to sue Chiu because he had intentionally tried to slander the president.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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