Wed, May 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Court extends Lai Su-ju’s detention over Twin Towers

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei District Court yesterday granted the prosecutors’ request to detain Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) for another two months.

Lai, a confidante of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), stands accused of taking bribes related to the Taipei Twin Towers project.

She was first detained on March 30 and will now be detained for another two months starting tomorrow, the court said yesterday.

The court ruled that there was a risk that Lai would collude with others to change their testimony if she was not in detention and able to communicate with them.

A consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development Co (太極雙星) won the tender in October last year with a NT$70 billion (US$2.34 billion) bid.

However, it lost the rights to the project in February, when it failed to put up a performance bond by the required deadline.

Prosecutors allege that Lai struck a deal with the consortium to receive a NT$10 million bribe in three installments — NT$1 million as a down payment, NT$3 million after Taipei Gateway International Development had signed the contract with the Taipei City Government to build the Twin Towers and NT$6 million once construction had started.

Lai has admitted to taking a NT$1 million payment, but said she considered it to be a “political donation.”

She said she returned the money after realizing that it had come from the consortium.

Lai, a lawyer who served as director of the KMT chairman’s office for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), had her KMT membership suspended.

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