Fri, May 11, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Wu Den-yi talks tough over media asset controversy

WARNING Defending the party's sale of its three media holdings, Wu vowed to take legal action against those who seek to harm the KMT's image

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday vowed to take a hard-line approach against political or media commentators whose words or actions were deemed harmful to the party's reputation.

KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) made the remarks yesterday in response to media reports on a legal case involving the party's controversial sales of its three media assets in 2005.

The KMT on Dec. 24, 2005 sold China Television Co (CTV, 中視), the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) and the Central Motion Pictures Corp (CMPC, 中影) to the China Times Group -- one day before the deadline set by the government for political and military groups to divest their media holdings.

Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), the KMT's deputy secretary-general at the time, said the party sold its shares in the three companies for NT$4 billion (US$121 million) to the China Times Group, which also took over the debt held by the three companies.

Adding this amount in, the China Times Group paid a total of NT$9.3 billion to the KMT for the companies, he said.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun filed a lawsuit last November accusing the KMT of breach of trust and misappropriation for selling the three companies -- with an estimated worth of NT$15.2 billion (US$456 million) -- to Jung-li under the China Times Group for just NT$4 billion.

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office said on Wednesday that it was looking into the case and would be calling witnesses to testify on the case soon.

Wu rebutted the accusations yesterday.

"Sure, the three companies had a total value of $15.2 billion; however, they also had a total debt of NT$11.2 billion," Wu said.

"When you deduct the debts from the total value, you get NT$4 billion." he said.

Wu added that the boards of directors of the companies decided on the sales independently.

"The KMT was a stockholder; however, the boards of directors of the companies decided on the sales themselves ... neither the party, nor former [KMT] chairman Ma Ying-jeou were involved," he said.

Wu also vowed to take legal actions against individuals whose statements might harm the party' s reputation.

"Media or political commentators should make statements based on facts ... otherwise, they have to bear legal responsibility [for their actions]," Wu warned.

Wu added that the KMT had already filed lawsuits against Yu and DPP legislators Yu Jan-daw (余政道) and Kao Chien-chih (高建智), charging them with slander.

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