Thu, Jun 21, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Legislators quizzed over apothecary bribe allegations

DIRTY MONEY? A series of payments was allegedly made to influence the Legislative Yuan to restore an association's ability to fill prescriptions

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office yesterday summoned six former and current legislators for questioning concerning allegations they accepted bribes from an apothecary association.

Those questioned were Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) and Jao Yung-ching (趙永清), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博), former DPP legislators Chiu Chuei-chen (邱垂貞) and Lin Kuang-hua (林光華) and former KMT legislator Liao Fu-peng (廖福本).

"The legislators were summoned for questioning today [yesterday]," Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南), spokesman for the Supreme Prosecutors' Office and its special investigation panel, told reporters yesterday.

He said the six were released without bail after questioning.

Prosecutors said the six lawmakers were under investigation concerning allegations that they took bribes from the National Chinese Herbal Apothecary Association 10 years ago.

The bribes are alleged to have been paid to influence the Legislative Yuan to restore members of the association's ability to fill medical prescriptions.

The legislature was reviewing an amendment to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) at the time.

The association is suspected of paying bribes totaling NT$40 million (US$1.2 million) to the lawmakers in 1997.

Its members regained the right to fill prescriptions the following year.

Prosecutors added that there was a possibility that the funds were political donations.

Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has also been linked to the case.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine alleged that Su took a bribe from a pharmaceutical manufacturer in 1997 in return for using his position to push for passage of an amendment to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act favorable to manufacturers.

The report was published on Jan. 3 and quoted former association president Hsu Ching-sung (徐慶松) as saying that he had given Su NT$100,000.

Chen said that Su had not been summoned for questioning yesterday.

Su has said that the money he received from Hsu Ching-sung was a "regular political donation," given to him when he was running for Taipei County commissioner in 1997.

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