Prosecutors have filed an application to freeze the assets of former Taoyuan County deputy commissioner Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文), along with the bank accounts and properties of his girlfriend, Chen Li-ling (陳麗玲), as a probe into corruption allegations continues.
Prosecutors said the move aimed to prevent Yeh and Chen from hiding or transferring their assets — allegedly illegally gained — to other accounts, as well as stopping their families and close associates from money-laundering.
Investigators found that Chen, Yeh’s girlfriend outside his marriage, had provided four personal bank accounts in which Yeh deposited various alleged bribery payments and laundered money.
After checking Yeh’s property declaration, required for public servants, from October last year, prosecutors said that he had listed an outstanding mortgage on one property of NT$16 million (US$533,000).
That amount matched the alleged NT$16 million bribe paid to Yeh by Farglory Land Development Co chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄).
Yeh previously headed up the Ministry of Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency (CPA), which was the central government’s department responsible for the nation’s major construction projects.
Prosecutors said it was widely suspected in political and business circles that when Yeh headed the agency, he and other officials were the recipients of bribes and kickbacks from developers and construction firms.
When Yeh was forced to retire from the CPA in July last year, investigators alleged that with his usual flow of bribe money stemmed, Yeh began demanding large lump sums in bribes from companies with property development projects in his post as Taoyuan County deputy commissioner.
When Yeh was forced to retire as CPA director-general, even though he had an inkling that the anti-corruption agency may be trailing him, he was confident that he had covered his tracks, so he continued to seek bribes from companies in return for project approvals, prosecutors said.
It has been reported that Yeh was appointed deputy to Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu(吳志揚) to implement and fast-track Wu’s personal pet project — the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project — which has been valued at NT$2.4 trillion to develop 4,771 hectares of land.