Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) last month sent letters to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members requesting information about the party’s financial relationship with four private foundations, sources said.
Aside from Ma, Koo wrote to KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and her predecessor, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), in connection with the committee’s investigation of KMT assets. Ma and Hung had formally replied to Koo in writing, while Chu had acknowledged the letter, but made no comment, the sources said.
The committee is investigating the Minsheng Development Foundation, the Minchuan Foundation, the Mintsu Foundation and the National Development Fund to determine whether they are KMT affiliates — a decision that could lead to the confiscation of their assets.
Officers of the foundations and KMT members last month told the committee that the foundations operate as independent entities.
Sources said that Koo’s letter to Ma was a request for information about the Minsheng Development Foundation’s management, finances and donations.
Earlier investigations by the committee revealed that the foundation’s chairpersons usually doubled as the heads of the KMT Administration and Management Committee or the KMT Finance Office.
Koo suspected that the Minsheng foundation had used the pretext of being a charitable organization to shuffle funds between the KMT and the party-owned Hsinyutai Co, sources said.
Suspicions were raised because the three foundations shared a high number of officers with the KMT, and had received a total of NT$90 million in funds (US$2.9 million) from Hsinyutai during the presidential election campaign in 2014, sources said.
All three founding chairpersons of the foundations were members of the KMT’s Administration and Management Committee, an organization Chu chaired at the time.
In May last year, or two months after Hung became KMT chairwoman, the original chairpersons of the three foundations resigned without serving their full term and were replaced by party members known to be Hung allies, the sources said.
In his letter, Koo asked Chu and Hung to explain the concurrent timing of the turnover in the foundations and the KMT leadership.
Koo asked Chu to clarify whether he had in 2014 ordered Hsinyutai to donate NT$90 million to the foundations, the sources said.
In related news, the Taipei High Administrative Court on Jan. 23 ruled against the committee’s freezing of KMT assets at Bank SinoPac, saying it was concerned that allowing the committee to freeze a political party’s assets may lead to a monopolization of power by the Democratic Progressive Party.
In response, Koo issued a statement on Wednesday, saying the committee would withhold its decision on filing an appeal until the Taipei Department of Labor concludes the second round of forced arbitration between the KMT and its employees, a process that is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
A committee member, who declined to be named, said that the committee is only interested in suspending the KMT’s illegally obtained assets, and not its legal income from party membership fees and political contributions.
“Those issues are clearly addressed in the committee’s deposition, and I cannot see why the judge would think that there is a threat to the autonomy of political organizations,” the committee member said.
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