Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Lee apologizes for dual-citizenship controversy

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) yesterday apologized to the public for the trouble caused by her dual-citizenship controversy.

“In my case, it is merely a problem of legal definition and I believe that prosecutors will prove my innocence. But this case has damaged the KMT’s image and I have betrayed my supporters’ trust as I had to resign my legislative seat. For that, I apologize,” she said as she reported to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for a closed-door investigative hearing.

Lee stopped in front of the prosecutors’ office to answer questions prior to the hearing yesterday morning.

She said she had worked hard as a civil servant over the past decade and now she would do her best to help prosecutors investigate her case, while insisting on her innocence.

When asked if she would return her income from her single term as a Taipei City councilor in 1994 and her three terms as a lawmaker from 1998 — estimated at more than NT$100 million (US$3 million) — Lee refused to comment.

The issue first came to light last March when Next Magazine reported that Lee still possessed a US passport.

The Nationality Act (國籍法) prohibits government officials from holding dual nationality and requires that those who are dual citizens give up their foreign citizenship before assuming office.

Just last month, Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office received official confirmation from the US Department of State that said that Lee’s US citizenship was still valid.

She resigned from the KMT in December and gave up her position as a legislator last month.

Last Friday, the Central Election Commission revoked its declaration of Lee’s election as a member of the seventh Taipei City Council and of the fourth, fifth and sixth Legislative Yuans and annulled all relevant election certificates she received from 1994 to 2005, after determining that she held US citizenship during that period.

In response to Lee’s comments, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) urged Lee to assume legal responsibility for the controversy.

“Since the US has proved that Lee’s US citizenship remains valid, there would be a negative impact on Lee if she continued to deny [the charges],” Lo said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said Lee’s refusal to return the salary she received during her tenure as a Taipei City councilor and legislator indicated she did not regret what she had done.

Lai reiterated his request that prosecutors clear up the scandal soon and the legislature formally relieve Lee of her position as a legislator.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG, RICH CHANG AND CNA

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