Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors mum on rumored Jeffrey Koo summons

ALTERED STATUS The Special Investigation Panel said that prosecutors listed the former Mega Financial chair as a suspect after learning of shady financial dealings

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

The Supreme Prosecutors Office’s Special Investigation Panel yesterday declined to confirm local media speculation on whether Chinatrust chairman Jeffrey Koo (辜濂松) would be summoned as part of a probe into a snowballing case involving alleged money-laundering by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family.

“Whether or not the summons will take place depends on developments of the investigation,” said panel spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南), who also declined to confirm media speculation on whether Yuanta Group Chairman Rudy Ma (馬志玲) would be summoned as a witness in the investigation.

On Friday, prosecutors investigating the high-profile case raided offices of three of the country’s largest financial holding groups in search of evidence in the case.

Chen Yun-nan said prosecutors discovered that subsidiaries of the three business groups — Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) and China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) — had connections to bank accounts held by suspects in the case.

Local media reported that prosecutors suspect some of the former first family’s overseas funds might have come from companies connected to financial reforms during his presidential term. But Chen Yun-nan said that Friday’s operations had nothing to do with the “second financial reforms” launched during Chen Shui-bian’s tenure, in which local banks were encouraged to merge to expand their market shares.

Former Mega Financial Holding Co chairman Cheng Sheng-chih (鄭深池) was listed as a suspect on Friday.

Chen Yun-nan said prosecutors changed Cheng’s status from a witness to a potential defendant after learning during a questioning session earlier in the day that he had shady financial dealings with other suspects in the money laundering case.

“We needed to raid these banks and talk to him just because some of the former first family’s money was wired from these local bank accounts,” said the panel spokesman.

“Cheng has been cooperating. Prosecutors did not find it necessary to detain him,” he said.

Cheng was released late on Friday after questioning.

The former president said on Aug. 14 that his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) wired US$20 million from previous campaign funds deposited abroad, but said she did so without his knowledge.

He denied that members of his family had laundered money.

Chen Shui-bian, who stepped down on May 20 after eight years in office, is also being investigated for allegedly embezzling NT$14.8 million (US$454,000) from a “state affairs fund” set aside for his discretionary use for official purposes while he was head of state.

Wu has been indicted in the same embezzlement case.

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