Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ligi Lee has no proof, prosecutors say

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ligi Lee (李慧芬), a key figure in the embezzlement allegations surrounding the first family, is not sure whether receipts she gave to her cousin Lee Bi-chun (李碧君) were passed on to first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), prosecutors said yesterday.

Lee on Monday gave prosecutors copies of a number of receipts which she said had been given to her cousin and the first lady to be used to seek reimbursements from the Presidential Office secret slush fund.

"Ligi Lee told prosecutors that her cousin Lee Bi-chun had told her that the receipts would be submitted to Wu for reimbursement, but she was not sure whether those receipts were in fact given to Wu," Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office spokesman Chang Wen-cheng (張文政) told reporters yesterday.

Her statements add up to no more than hearsay and are not direct evidence, Chang said, adding that prosecutors would continue their search for evidence.

Ligi Lee left the Black Gold Investigation Center of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office yesterday morning after being questioned for 15 hours.

During the questioning, prosecutors asked her to confirm that she had made the purchases for which the receipt had been handed to her cousin, Chang said.

Although prosecutors had asked the Australia-based fashion designer not to hold a press conference to avoid revealing sensitive investigation information to the media, Ligi Lee nonetheless held a press conference at her hotel in Taipei yesterday.

"After talking to prosecutors, I came to believe that they are taking the case very seriously. The evidence they have gathered is ahead of my contribution," she told the press conference.

"I did not come back to Taiwan to oppose President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), but to help the judicial system uncover the truth," she added.

She said she gave prosecutors copies of a number of receipts from the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei, Sogo Department Store and other businesses amounting to more than NT$7 million (US$214,700).

Lee arrived in Taipei from Australia on Sunday night and plans to stay about one week.

Wu has been accused of pocketing cash from a Presidential Office slush fund by turning in receipts given to her by Lee Bi-chun.

Lee Bi-chun has been banned from leaving the country.

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