Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Transport minister Yeh grilled on Senao links

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday questioned Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) on his “close relationship” with Senao International chairman Paul Lin (林保雍).

Tsai accused Yeh of forcing Lee Yen-sung (李炎松) to resign last month as chairman of Chunghwa Telecom Co — the nation’s biggest telecom carrier, which has the ministry as its biggest stakeholder — after Lee refused to buy Senao stock from Lin, as the minister had requested.

The KMT legislator said Yeh summoned Lee to his office on July 10 last year and told him to complete the transaction in 15 days and pay Lin a handsome price for the shares. Tsai added that Lee was hesitant because the deal involved a large sum of money and he thought there might be something suspicious going on.

Lin held several meetings with Chunghwa executives on July 12, 19 and 24 to discuss the matter, but they did not reach an agreement, the KMT lawmaker said.

After Lee, 64, retired on Monday last week, the Executive Yuan named former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co chief executive Rick Tsai (蔡力行) as Chunghwa chairman at the ministry’s suggestion.

Given the close ties between Chunghwa and Senao, a subsidiary of the telecom, Yeh has a conflict of interest with Senao and should be very cautious in his dealings with the company, Alex Tsai said.

However, Yeh was still very close to Lin, Alex Tsai said, alleging that Lin threw a “luxury party” on Jan. 5 for the minister’s birthday.

Yeh dismmissed the allegations yesterday, saying that the party was hosted by KMT Central Standing Committee member Chiang Shuo-ping (江碩平) and denied that it had been lavish.

The minister confirmed that Lin was present, but said they did not talk about anything related to Senao or Chunghwa.

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