Ex-First Financial chairman placed on wanted list

ON THE RUN::Jerome Chen, the husband of former minister of economic affairs Christine Tsung, has failed to appear for questioning in connection with alleged document forgery

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Oct 08, 2012 - Page 3

The Taipei District Court Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said former First Financial Holding Co chairman Jerome Chen (陳建隆) has been placed on the wanted list after failing to appear for an investigation in which he has been accused of forging documents to allow a female Chinese friend to enter Taiwan.

The prosecutors’ office said prosecutors had summoned him for questioning several times, but Chen failed to show up.

Prosecutors suspect he has stayed abroad and as result he has been placed on the wanted list, which could last until December 2034.

Chen’s wife is former minister of economic affairs Christine Tsung (宗才怡).

Prosecutors said Chen was suspected of writing over Tsung’s name when he filled in a household document and is believed to have used the full name of a Chinese woman, surnamed Huang (黃), instead.

Chen also allegedly obtained a fake Republic of China (ROC) passport for Huang, as well as a fake document from police authorities proving that Huang had no criminal record in Taiwan.

Prosecutors alleged that Chen represented Huang when she applied for citizenship of, and a passport from, Burkina Faso — a diplomatic ally of Taiwan.

Burkina Faso law stipulates that any ROC citizen who invests more than US$10,000 in the country can apply for citizenship, prosecutors said, adding that Chen’s purpose may have been to allow Huang to enter Taiwan with a passport from the African nation.

Police authorities have determined that the copies of the three documents used for the applications in Burkina Faso were fake, prosecutors said.

Local media have speculated that 38-year-old Huang is romantically involved with Chen.

Prosecutors added that it was suspicious Chen had been accompanied by a man called Lee Chih-yuan (李志元) whom Huang had paid US$44,000 when she made her application in Burkina Faso.

Prosecutors said Jerome Chen, Huang and Lee are all defendants in the case.