Wed, Apr 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Koo Jr testifies about contributions

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Chinatrust Financial Holding Co vice chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) yesterday testified in court about “reluctant contributions” he had made to the former first family in the trial of former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍).

Koo was called as a defense witness to clarify his involvement in the 2004 sale of a plot of land in Longtan (龍潭), Taoyuan County. His previous appearance in court was less than a week ago, when he testified at the request of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) lawyers.

Prosecutors allege that Wu’s (吳淑珍) friend Tsai Ming-che (蔡銘哲) helped the Chen family solicit bribes and lined his own pockets with a portion of the money as part of the deal between the ­government-run Hsinchu Science Park and Dayu Development Corp — a subsidiary of the Koo Group.

Questioned first by defense attorney Lin Chih-chung (林志忠), Koo detailed political donations he and his family had made to the former first family.

When he appeared in court last week, Koo testified that he had made large donations to the former first family, which he called “reluctant contributions.” Yesterday, Wu’s lawyer continued to probe Koo on this subject.

“[Wu] had always told me it was important to contribute to one’s country,” Koo said. “[But] it was very stressful to finance these political donations because the amounts were so large.”

He said he had called the donations “reluctant contributions” because of the difficulty of gathering such large amounts in a short time, not because he had made the contributions for fear of reprisals if he did not.

Even though Wu did not openly ask for donations, she would tell him how much others had donated to put pressure on him, Koo said.

However, Koo experienced pressure not only from the pan-green camp, but apparently also from the pan-blue camp.

He told the court that when Chen was mayor of Taipei City, a government agency had authorized an excavator to start construction in front of his home in Tianmu (天母).

“The excavator almost ran straight into my house,” he said.

He said that at the time some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians had used similar strategies to make threats or issue warnings.

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