The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday denied a local news report that alleged possible foul play in an unusual decline in the KMT’s party assets by more than NT$5 billion (US$150 million) over a period of less than six months last year, saying the drop was caused by legitimate reasons.
In a statement issued yesterday, KMT Culture and Communications Committee vice director Lee Ming-hsien (李明賢) said that the net worth of the KMT’s assets was NT$24.2 billion when New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) took the helm of the party in January last year, before dropping to NT$16.6 billion at the end of last year.
Lee said that the fall was primarily due to the party’s losses in lawsuits or decisions not to pursue cases filed by other parties seeking to reclaim some of the KMT’s assets.
“It also reflects property that the KMT voluntarily returned to the state or gave away. Most of the property was land located in New Taipei City’s Banciao (板橋) and Bali (八里) districts, Tainan City and Hualien County,” Lee said.
Lee said that there are two other reasons contributing to the decline: Taiwan’s plunging stock market, which has caused KMT-held stock to reduce in value; and the party’s administrative expenditures and overhead costs.
“The KMT did not sell a single piece of land last year,” Lee said. “The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) accusations that we had taken advantage of the chaos during the election campaign last year to liquidate party assets are unsubstantiated allegations. The KMT will face all questions regarding its handling of party assets with a clear conscience.”
Lee was responding to an article published yesterday by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), which, citing statistics provided by an anonymous KMT member, said the net worth of the KMT’s assets dropped by nearly 23.8 percent in less than six months last year, from NT$21.8 billion in July to NT$16.6 billion in December.
The report quoted DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) as asking whether the KMT had secretly liquidated its assets during the election campaign or transferred some of its properties under a different name.
Chen said in the report that in 1993, the KMT held ownership over seven large holding companies and had control over more than 60 corporations, adding that even in 2000, the party’s remaining assets had a net worth of NT$100 billion.
“Over the past two decades, the KMT has been liquidating, transferring and concealing its assets. By borrowing other’s names for registration of properties, the KMT has entangled the coffers of the nation with those of the party,” Chen said in the article, calling for a thorough investigation into the KMT’s assets.
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