Tue, Jul 19, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Former council speaker not guilty in bribery case

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former Keelung City Council speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), 50, was found not guilty in a corruption case focused on financial benefits allegedly received by Huang and a property developer in connection with sponsorship of a controversial art installation at Keelung Harbor two years ago.

The Keelung District Court ruling said there was no evidence that Huang and property developer JSL Group (甲山林) received direct and reciprocal benefits, though the evidence showed there were financial transactions between them and that JSL Group had given Huang a free luxury condominium as a family residence.

Therefore the judge found the two accused, Huang and JSL Group president Chu Wen-yu (祝文宇), not guilty of the charges brought by prosecutors that they had violated the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), a court statement said.

Prosecutors had alleged that Huang, as city council speaker, had pressured JSL Group for a political donation by finding faults during city government inspections of the construction phase of a luxury mansion project in 2012.

Prosecutors also alleged that Chu paid NT$10 million (NT$313,910) to be the main financial sponsor of Huang’s pet project — the giant Rubber Duck installation by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman, which was displayed at Keelung Harbor from December 2013 to January 2014.

Yesterday’s ruling was only one of several litigation cases against Huang.

In August last year, the district court found him guilty of bribery, influence peddling, accepting kickbacks and other unlawful activities during his term as city council speaker and handed him a 20-year jail sentence.

In that case, Huang was found guilty of embezzling public funds amounting to NT$91.46 million through falsified receipts and other forged accounting items, and also of influence peddling, embezzlement and receiving kickbacks related to two real-estate projects — JSL Group’s luxury condominium complex near Badu (八堵) Railway Station and Unison Developing Co’s (國統開發) land revitalization and street expansion project in the city’s Yuemei Road (月眉路) area.

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