Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT denies link to plan to purchase SET-TV station

MOUTHPIECE A KMT legislator said he only gave management advice to a foreign company that wanted to buy a stake in the pro-green TV station

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday dismissed allegations that one of its legislators was buying SET-TV network through an investment consulting firm and called on politicians not to meddle in media outlets.

"We hope that political parties and politicians respect the media and give them freedom to report the news," KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said at KMT headquarters.

Su made the remarks in response to a report in yesterday's edition of the Chinese-language United Evening News, which claimed that KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) had offered to purchase 17 percent of the station's shareholding at NT$65 a share from Hong Kong-based Excelsior Capital to gain control of the media outlet.

Tsai admitted yesterday that he was trying to purchase a stake on behalf of a US investment consulting firm. However, he dismissed allegations the move was intended to help the KMT by changing the station's pro-green stance.

Tsai said he had provided the foreign investment company with advice about pricing for the deal and issued a letter of intent for purchase of the shares on behalf of the company.

"I did say in the assessment report to the company that the ratings of the station would increase if its coverage were less pro-green. But it was only my advice from a management viewpoint," he said.

Tsai also said he would not play any role in the management of the station.

Meanwhile, Su said the KMT had withdrawn from management of media outlets, and it was not behind the deal.

However, Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) yesterday demanded Tsai explain whether funding for the purchase was part of the KMT's "stolen assets."

"It is reasonable to believe that the transaction between Tsai and SET TV is not real because of Tsai's shady record," Shieh said, referring to the alleged irregularities involving Tsai in the sale of the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC), which was previously owned by the KMT.

CMPC vice president Chuang Wan-chun (莊婉均) accused Tsai of stealing her shares in the company.

In related news, Shieh said the government had instructed the Fair Trade Commission to investigate the dispute arising from the sale of the former KMT-owned Broadcasting Corp of China.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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