Opposition lawmakers yesterday accused the Ministry of Culture of disproportionately allocating money from its creative industry investment fund to projects in which show business mogul Wang Wei-chung (王偉忠) is involved.
Wang, one of the most influential agents and producers in the nation’s entertainment industry, received at least NT$83 million (US$2.85 million) of the National Development Fund’s (NDF) total investment of NT$300 million in the industry for his projects, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a joint press conference.
“We recognize Wang’s expertise in the show business, but we also would like to ask: Is he the only one in Taiwan who’s worthy of all that investment?” Lee said.
The ministry invested the fund’s NT$300 million in 14 projects of 12 venture capital companies and Wang served as board members in several of the companies involved, the lawmakers said.
TC-1 Culture Fund, of which Wang serves as a board member, was granted four of the 14 projects and invested NT$22 million in Huan-hsing Entertainment and NT$35 million in South Island Film Inc.
Wang serves on the board of directors of both companies, Lee said.
Jifu Culture Creative Investment, one of the 12 venture capital companies, invested NT$8 million in Huang-hsing.
Another company securing investment from the NDF, Polyface Investment Management, invested NT$81 million in a film company and collaborated with Wang on a film, Lee said, adding that TC-1 Culture Fund invested NT$18 million in Magic Alley Entertainment, at which Wang also serves as a board member, in another project.
The ministry violated regulations by not sending people to serve on the boards of directors in the companies with investment from the 12 venture capital funds, said Lin, who first raised questions about Wang’s involvement in the projects in April.
Award-winning screenwriter Neil Peng (馮光遠) told the press conference that he did not oppose the ministry’s investment in the culture creative industry, but “transparency is the key word.”
“It’s sad to see the government budget on cultural development being wasted this way and it puzzles me that certain people always secure subsidies and investment from the government,” Peng said.
The ministry responded to the allegations with a press release later yesterday that said its entire process of grants for creative industry projects was done according to law.