Sat, Nov 15, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Chen's son summoned by prosecutors

GRANTING ACCESSProsecutors said that Chen Chih-chung offered to sign an agreement that allows prosecutors to access details of certain foreign bank accounts

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Supporters of former president Chen Shui-bian look at a poster of Chen in handcuffs outside the office of Kaohsiung City Councilor Cheng Hsin-chu yesterday. Cheng said that Chen is a victim of political persecution and that he put the poster up to highlight Chen’s plight.

PHOTO: CNA

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) signed an authorization agreement yesterday that allows the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) to investigate the foreign bank accounts that prosecutors allege were used by the former first family to launder money.

“They have signed the papers,” Lin Chih-hao (林志豪), Chen Chih-chung’s lawyer, said outside the prosecutors’ office.

SIP Spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) later confirmed Lin’s comments.

“Chen [Chih-chung] said he would sign the agreement to help our investigations. We did not ask him to do so,” Chen Yun-nan said.

Chen Chih-chung and Huang arrived at the prosecutors’ office at around 9:25am and left at 1:15pm. Chen Yun-nan said that they had summoned Chen Chih-chung, his sister Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and Huang for questioning, but Chen Hsing-yu asked to be excused because of her busy work schedule.

“Chen Chih-chung and Huang will not be detained now they have signed the agreement allowing us access to the foreign bank accounts,” Chen Yun-nan said.

Chen Yun-nan confirmed that prosecutors had also summoned former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), but he refused to confirm whether Wu had reported to prosecutors or where and when Wu’s questioning had taken place.

Meanwhile, prosecutors also questioned Taiwan Cement Corp (台泥) chairman Leslie Koo (辜成允) yesterday at 10:30am.

Koo left the office at around 2pm.

During their investigations, SIP prosecutors discovered that Koo had wired a total of NT$400 million (US$12.1 million) to an account belonging toWu.

Koo said he had told prosecutors that the NT$400 million had been paid as “commission” for help he received on a land deal and was not a political donation.

Koo was referring to a piece of land in Taoyuan that belonged to a company he inherited from his elder brother. In 2003, the company was in financial trouble and he wanted to sell the land, he said. Former Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) vice chairman Jeffery Koo Jr (辜仲諒) introduced Tsai Ming-chieh (蔡銘杰) and Tsai Ming-che (蔡銘哲) to him, Koo said, adding that the Tsai brothers told him there would be a NT$400 million commission should a deal to sell the land be completed.

In February 2004, the National Science Council bought the land in order to build an industrial park. Koo said he then wired the NT$400 million to the account given to him by Tsai Ming-cher. Tsai Ming-cher is in detention in connection with the alleged money laundering case.

“I decided to tell prosecutors the truth,” Koo said. “I had to sell the land to solve my financial problems at the time. The money came out of my own pocket. It had nothing to do with the company or anybody else.”

Koo said that he understood what he had done was wrong and he would apologize to the public if what he had done had caused any trouble.

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