MOFA refuses to comment on ex-NSB head’s appointment


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday declined to comment on whether the reported appointment of a former head of the National Security Bureau (NSB) might be put on hold.

Vice Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia said that the ministry’s stance is that “it will not comment on unconfirmed personnel appointments.”

The United Evening News, a local daily, reported that former NSB head Shi Hwei-yow could be involved in a probe into suspected money-laundering by the former first family, and his appointment overseas as a representative could be put on hold.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office has said earlier in the day that it couldn’t comment on reports that a witness was present when the former investigation chief handed over a document implicating former first family in money-laundering to former President Chen Shui-bian.

Lin Chin-tsun, deputy chief prosecutor of the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, was responding to reports by the Taipei-based China Times Saturday that former NSB chief Shi may have witnessed Yeh Sheng-mao, the former director of Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), handing over the document provided by the Egmont Group to Chen.

“The case is still under investigation, and it is not convenient for me to elaborate on the matter,” Lin said.

To shed light on its probe of Yeh’s withholding the document provided by the international anti-money laundering group Egmont Group, the prosecution summoned both Yeh and Chen Friday. Yeh stuck to his previous statement that he withheld the document detailing abnormal transfers of overseas banking accounts in the name of Huang Jui-ching, Chen’s daughter-in-law, and instead handed it to Chen in February this year. Yeh said another witness was on hand, identified by sources as possibly being Shi, then director of the National Security Bureau, according to the reports.

Chen again vehemently denied that he had received the formal document, saying that he only received a piece of information, the reports said.

Suspicions that the former first family engaged in money-laundering came to light in mid-August, and Chen was forced to admit that portions of his election campaign funds between 1993 and 2004 were diverted to overseas accounts without his knowledge until early this year.

But what shocked the public is that the MJIB head had learned of the suspected money laundering involving the former first family, but had kept the nation in the dark and instead handed over the information to the party involved — Chen himself.

Prosecutors’ investigation into the case has also found that the funds in the overseas accounts of the former first family may have come from other suspicious sources.