A recent Next Magazine story alleging that the four children of late premier Lee Huan (李煥) are fighting over their inheritance has drawn criticism from two of his children, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) and former KMT lawmaker Diane Lee (李慶安), who both threatened to sue the magazine on Thursday.
Lee Huan passed away in December last year.
Next Magazine reported that Lee Huan left behind a fortune of tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars in savings, as well as collections of books, paintings and letters from known political figures that were worth at least NT$50 million (US$1.7 million).
The report said that Lee Ching-hua and Diane Lee were dissatisfied with how Lee Huan had favored his eldest son, Lee Ching-chung (李慶中), and had worked together to contest the inheritance, adding that the siblings had also broken off contact with their elder sister, Lee Ching-chu (李慶珠).
The report said the brother and sister had applied to the National Tax Administration for a precise inventory of Lee Huan’s fortune, adding that Diane Lee had sold some of the paintings in the last days of her father’s life and made a profit of NT$40 million to NT$50 million.
At a joint press conference held with Diane Lee on Thursday, Lee Ching-hua showed a document dated June 2009, signed and finger-printed by Lee Huan and also witnessed by a lawyer, stating that any funds, insurances or accounts under Lee Huan’s or Lee Ching-chung’s name were only under the supervision of Lee Ching-chung and that all of the fortune was to be equally shared out.
Lee Ching-hua said the contents of the Next Magazine report had been fabricated by Lee Ching-chu, adding that her reason for making such fabrications was due to a grudge because both he and Diane Lee had disapproved of her conduct after she refused to leave her post as a section chief at the then-Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission when she was found to have cheated in a governmental examination in 1994.
Lee Ching-hua added that all three of Lee Ching-chu’s brothers and sisters had made a public declaration disavowing responsibility for any statement Lee Ching-chu made in public.
“I believe my father won’t forgive my sister [Lee Ching-chu],” Lee Ching-hua said.
Strongly protesting the magazine’s assertion that she allegedly sold her father’s paintings, Diane Lee said that her father did not have any paintings worth NT$40 million to NT$50 million and that he only possessed paintings and calligraphy by former vice president Yu You-jen (于右任) and artist Au Ho-nien (歐豪年).
Diane Lee said the will left behind by her father had been witnessed by a legal notary and all inheritance taxes had been paid, adding that the total sum was to be equally distributed to all four of Lee Huan’s children.
Meanwhile, lawyer Lin Hsing-tung (林憲同) said that when he had been asked to take charge of inventory, distribution and taxation of Lee Huan’s estate and affairs, Lee Ching-chu had been the most problematic of all Lee Huan’s children.
“She refused to meet me in person and refused to allow me to inventory the items,” Lin said.