Prosecutors yesterday questioned former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) as a witness to learn details about money wired to him by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is under investigation for alleged money laundering.
On Wednesday, Chen said he had donated US$1.91 million to “someone of great seniority” to be used to promote Taiwan’s diplomatic relations.
In an interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Thursday, Wu said that Chen contacted him in February and said he was willing to provide capital “to help do something toward the expansion of Taiwan’s diplomatic relations.”
Wu said he then gave Chen four bank account numbers, under two different names with two accounts each. None of the accounts were in Wu’s name, but Wu said he had access to the accounts.
Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南), spokesman for the Special Investigation Panel of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, said yesterday that the prosecutors had interviewed Wu to learn more about the matter.
“Since the timing of the transfer is close to when the former head of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) allegedly leaked information to Chen on the money-laundering investigation, prosecutors would like to learn the origin of the funds and the transfer,” Chen Yun-nan said.
Yeh stands accused of covering up and warning the former president that a foreign anti-money laundering organization was investigating alleged money-laundering by his family.
During the questioning yesterday, Chen Yun-nan said that Wu was very cooperative and authorized the prosecutors to investigate the four overseas accounts.
Wu, a long-time independence advocate, said in the interview with the Liberty Times that he and the former president met at Chen’s official residence on Feb. 3. Wu said the former president told him he wanted to build a network of people friendly to Taiwan or to facilitate future foreign visits. Wu said he was very moved by this gesture and therefore agreed to do what he had been asked.
Wu said he received information from an overseas bank on Feb. 22 saying that US$1.91 million had been deposited.
The former president was implicated when the Next Magazine weekly reported on Aug. 13 that the former first family had transferred large sums of money abroad and might be engaged in money laundering.
The former president admitted the following day that his wife had wired family funds abroad without his knowledge, but insisted that all the money was clean.
Chen Shui-bian said the money was the remaining balance from political contributions for his two mayoral and two presidential bids between 1993 and 2004.
Chen Shui-bian is also under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds by using other people’s receipts for reimbursements from his “state affairs fund.” He said he is his innocent and said that he didn’t use a dime from the discretionary “state affairs fund” to line his own pocket.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective