Thu, Dec 04, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Chen’s aides slam KMT over accusations

WHISPERS AND LEAKS The former president’s office named two KMT lawmakers it said had made malicious charges and asked for SIP staffers to be investigated

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) office yesterday condemned allegations by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that he took advantage of 2006 state visit to Palau to send NT$170 million there. The office urged the KMT to show restraint with its words and actions.

The office issued a statement denouncing KMT legislators Chiu Yi (邱毅) and Alex Tsai (蔡正元) for making groundless and malicious accusations against Chen. It urged the KMT to restrain the words and actions of its members to avoid unwarranted claims and vengeful acts.

Chiu alleged on Tuesday that Chen sent NT$170 million into a First Bank account in Palau during his trip there in September 2006. The lawmaker said he had he obtained the information from Palauan president-elect Johnson Toribiong.

The statement also urged the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) to examine whether any of its investigators leaked details of Chen’s legal cases to the media. If the investigators did not leak any information, the SIP must immediately clear the names of the people involved, the statement said.

The Chinese-language China Times said yesterday that “its understanding” was that the SIP found, through the information obtained from the flash disk of former presidential treasurer Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧), that the former first family has a “secret account” at the First Bank in Palau.

Investigators suspected that NT$170 million of that account might have come from financial holding firms or communications companies, the report said.

The report described the former president’s residence as an “international financial trading center” as the transactions were rife during the time of the former president’s state visit. The report said the SIP was planning to subpoena Michael Chang (張兆順), former chairman of the First Bank.

Meanwhile, the Air Force yesterday denied allegations that it helped Chen by sending the cash.

“The Air Force strictly abided by the rules in operating the presidential jet and did not do anything outside the law,” it said.

Citing the denials from the Air Force, the First Bank and Chen’s then security chief, Chen’s office called on the accuser to produce his or her evidence to the SIP instead of speaking on behalf of the SIP.

The office also asked political commentator Sisy Chen (陳文茜) to apologize for making similar claims in her column in Saturday’s Apple Daily, or warned that she would face a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Chen’s office dismissed allegation that Chen Shui-bian or his wife had been involved in the “second financial reform” and wired NT$3 billion to Japan, some of which were used to purchase stakes in a Japanese bank.

If the information came from the SIP, the office said that the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court should launch an inquest to see if SIP prosecutors had abused their power and it did not rule out the possibility of suing any SIP prosecutors who leak information in an on-going case.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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