The Special Investigation Division (SID) yesterday again questioned Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), a key suspect in former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih’s (林益世) alleged corruption case, to compare his statement with Lin’s.
Chen and his girlfriend, Chen Tsai-mei (陳彩梅), were seen entering the SID office yesterday morning.
Chen, head of Ti Yung Co, a metal-recycling company, has accused Lin of accepting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) to help him secure slag treatment contracts from China Steel Corp (CSC) and two of its subsidiaries in 2010 and of asking for a further NT$83 million this year.
Prosecutors said the key evidence that convinced them that the charges could be true were two recordings of Lin allegedly negotiating with Chen about bribes on Feb. 25 and March 10. Chen handed the tapes over to prosecutors after his company allegedly failed to renew its contract with China Steel because he refused Lin’s demand for a bribe, prosecutors said.
Lin, who has allegedly confessed to prosecutors that he had accepted the NT$63 million, on Friday was subjected to another round of questioning in a bid to learn the whereabouts of the money and if anyone else had collaborated with him.
Media reports said Lin told prosecutors he acted alone, and that his mother and wife knew nothing about it.
The reports said Lin became pretty emotional when he learned from prosecutors that his mother, Shen Juo-lan (沈若蘭), and Lin’s wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), both were released on bail after being charged with several crimes.
Former labor unions officials yesterday said Lin’s influence went well beyond China Steel and involved other state-owned corporations, including Chunghwa Telecom and Tang Eng Iron Works Corp. Former officials from the Labor Union of China Steel said that since the first transfer of power in 2000, the position of chairman at the companies often changed along with which political party was in power.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) appointed Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) and Tsou Juo-chi (鄒若齊) as chairpersons at China Steel.
“It was after Tsou became chairman that the political-corporate relationship with China Steel became the most corrupt, and it was also after he came in that the Executive Yuan had the power to approve the nomination of chairman or general managers to subsidiary companies,” a former union official said.
According to the ex-official, in the past the company chairman would quietly support certain candidates during elections, but Tsou was quite open in his support of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and of Ma.
He took the lead in mobilizing employees within the company to stump for them, the official said.
“In order to have power, Tsou would be on his best behavior with pan-blue legislators, especially as Lin held the position of caucus whip, deputy chairman of the KMT, and secretary-general of the Executive Yuan; what ever Lin wanted, he would get,” the former official said.
“It all started after Ma was elected and they are now running the company like it’s a party-owned business,” the ex-official said.
An official from Tang Eng Corp’s Labor Union said Lin was the only person that had so much influence on the company that he could interfere with anything from human resources, to resource contracting and slag or waste contracting.