Accuser in secretary-general graft case detained

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–A businessman whose bribery accusations have led to the resignation of Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih has been arrested in Taipei by investigators after going into hiding for three days. Investigators found Chen Chi-hsiang, owner of Ti Yung Co., at a five-star hotel late Friday night and took him back to the Special Investigation Division (SID) for questioning, the Central News Agency said. The SID, under the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, later confirmed that the Kaohsiung-based businessman has been listed as a co-defendant in the case for allegedly giving bribes to Lin. Chen was still being questioned as of press time. Lin resigned from the Cabinet on Thursday after the Next magazine published a report Wednesday citing Chen as accusing the official of taking a NT$60 million bribe in return for helping his company secure a China Steel Corp. (CSC) contract. The SID has yet to question Lin, who has denied the accusations. Lin’s attorney, Taipei City Councilor Lai Shu-ju, said her client would be willing to face Chen in a cross-examination, but would not respond to allegations by the opposition. Legislator Chao Tien-lin of the Democratic Progressive Party reiterated that he had listened to a tape-recording of a conversation allegedly between Chen and Lin concerning the bribery. Chao claimed the tape-recording belongs to a friend and will persuade the friend to make it public if necessary. The SID refused to say whether it had already obtained the recording. The SID originally listed Chen as a “witness” asking him to come forward to explain the allegations in the Next report. Chen refused to show up and instead went into hiding. The CNA said Chen traveled from Kaohsiung to Taipei on Tuesday and during the past few days he kept changing hotels. The SID said it decided to list Chen as a co-defendant because of his alleged role as a briber in the case. According to the Next report, Lin allegedly asked for another NT$83 million from Chen in return for help to renew the CSC contract earlier this year, but Chen refused.

Lin’s initial response to the report was that he had met Chen only once. But later he admitted that they had met a few more times. The United Evening News cited unnamed Kuomintang sources as saying that Lin had admitted to having helped Chen with the CSC contract, but denied having taken any money.