Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chiu claims Chen's driver a key player in the scandals

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday called on prosecutors to investigate a driver who works at President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) residence, claiming he had played a significant role in a string of scandals surrounding the first family.

A report published by the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday said that driver Lin Che-min (林哲民) had sought reimbursement from the Presidential Office's special allowance fund for expenses incurred while treating his friends to several meals at The Ambassador Hotel over the past two years.

Investigators are currently looking into whether the Presidential Office used fake receipts to claim reimbursements from the fund, which is intended for use on national affairs.

The report quoted an anonymous source from the investigation agency as saying that Lin had obtained tens of thousands of dollars from the fund.

According to the Apple Daily, every time Lin had a meal, he signed his name on the bill, and the restaurant staff wrote down "Yushan Residence" -- the code name for the President's residence. The Presidential Office's accountant would then go there a few days later and pay the bill.

Chiu told a press conference that Lin was not just a driver at the president's official residence.

"Lin's name was used as a dummy account in the insider-trading case involving Chen's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘). The prosecutors must look into Lin's involvement further," Chiu said.

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) yesterday refused to comment on the allegations, saying that the investigation into the president's special allowance fund was a legal matter while calling on the media to stop making wild speculation.

Lee said that the president's driver has many jobs, including running errands and organizing catering and that he was only doing his job when signing his name on bills.

"He himself did not spend any of the money," Lee said. "All the expenditures were made either by the Presidential Office or the president's official residence for public purposes."

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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