Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Prosecutors may soon start official probe of THSRC

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-ching criticizes Ou Chin-der taking over as chairman of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp was arranged by some “senior officials” during a question-and-answer session in the legislature yesterday.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Prosecutors said yesterday they were close to finishing gathering documents and may soon launch an official investigation into suspected irregularities at Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC).

Taipei District prosecutors on Friday went to the offices of THSRC and the Bureau of High Speed Rail to retrieve documents, but tried to downplay the incident by saying it was not a raid or a search but simply data gathering to shed light on some matters.

Prosecutors said because hundreds of boxes of documents — some of which are confidential and can only be accessed by codes — were necessary to aid them in their investigation, they have set tomorrow as the deadline for the company to submit the requested documents. They will then go through all the documents and may launch an official probe into government officials or management officials if they found any irregularities.

Prosecutors have been looking into the company’s cash flow since January on suspicion that it had manipulated real estate prices, with the prices of some property located near high-speed rail stations soaring even before construction started.

They have also received reports accusing certain individuals of profiteering and breach of trust during the planning and construction phases of the project.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday set up a team of six prosecutors to work on the case.

Prosecutors said they were mainly investigating whether illegal profits had flowed into private businesses and whether government officials had engaged in influence peddling during the construction of the railway.

The government owns almost 40 percent of the company's shares. THSRC has accumulated more than NT$450 billion (US$13.8 billion) in debt and is seeking a syndicated loan of NT$390 billion.

Last week, former THSRC chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) resigned from her post and an ad hoc board meeting elected THSRC chief executive Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) to replace her.

This story has been viewed 1982 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top