The People First Party (PFP) yesterday denied reports that its chairman, James Soong (宋楚瑜), allegedly received kickbacks from a 1991 deal to purchase six Lafayette-class frigates and said that it would seek legal action against anyone who continues to spread such false reports.
Soong, and others, was listed in the “Suisse Secrets” investigation, under the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and was shown to have, at one point, a maximum balance of 13,677,418 Swiss francs (US$14,884,177 at the current exchange rate) in a Credit Suisse account, which was opened in 1993 and closed in 2010.
The description of the account reads: “The Kuomintang (KMT) took him to court claiming he embezzled millions of dollars of the party’s funds, though the charges were eventually dropped. Later, Soong was accused by a former French foreign minister of receiving kickbacks from a 1991 navy procurement deal, signed while he was secretary-general of the KMT.”
The PFP called claims that former French minister of foreign affairs Roland Dumas gave Soong money preposterous.
Similar claims had been made before and investigated, with nothing pointing back at Soong, it added.
The party said it had provided statements and proofs refuting the claims of “certain individuals who have decided to translate foreign articles” to accuse Soong.
The government should issue a statement on the Lafayette issue to clear Soong’s name, the PFP said.
The party will take legal action against any person or media corporation accusing Soong of embezzling state funds, or alleging that he was implicated in the Lafayette case, it added.
Speaking with reporters in Taipei last night following an event to celebrate Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s birthday, Soong denied involvement in the scandal.
He said the allegations had been fabricated by the KMT in the run-up to the election in 2000, in an effort to discredit him and his supporters.
Soong also denied knowledge of funds linked to him in the Credit Suisse leak.
Separately, asked whether Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), a PFP member, should make a statement, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said he had asked Huang whether she would care to comment, but Huang said she was only a college senior at the time and would not know such things.
One should verify their source and ask those involved directly for comments, not those who have no connection with the case, Ko said.
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