The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said that it would appeal the Taipei District Court’s decision late Sunday night to release independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) on NT$1 million bail (US$33,863) after he was listed as a suspect in a bribery case.
As of press time last night, four other current and former legislators implicated in another corruption probe were in bail hearing sessions or waiting for their turn.
They are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明).
The court also approved the prosecutors’ office request to have the chief secretary of Chao’s office, Lin Chia-chi (林家騏), detained incommunicado.
While Chao, who represents Taoyuan’s sixth electoral district, was granted bail, he has been barred from leaving the country.
He allegedly pressured the Construction and Planning Agency to approve a rezoning project for two funeral service companies that wanted to develop a plot of land in Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園).
Prosecutors said they were planning to indict Chao and Lin on corruption charges that would carry a minimum sentences of five years in prison apiece.
The second corruption probe is focused on alleged bribes given in exchange for the suspects lobbying and pressuring government officials as a group of businesspeople led by former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) tried to wrest ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store from tycoon Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) and his Far Eastern Group.
Prosecutors allege that Lee and his staff worked with Knowledge International Consultancy general manager and political lobbyist Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a former aide of DPP Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), who acted as an intermediary in communications with the politicians and disbursing bribes to their top aides or office chief secretaries in both cases.
Six politicians — including former DPP legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山), who was released early on Saturday on NT$500,000 bail — have been listed as suspects for allegedly contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), as well as breach of trust by a public official and other charges.
Judicial investigators suspect that Su received the most money, NT$20 million, along with a NT$2 million fee for attending and speaking at a key public hearing held at the Legislative Yuan on Dec. 18 last year on whether the Ministry of Economic Affairs to should amend the Company Act’s (公司法) clauses on capital increases and make them retroactive so that Lee’s firm could regain control of Pacific Sogo.
Sufin Siluko allegedly received NT$9 million, including NT$2 million for attending and speaking at the same hearing, while Chen allegedly received NT$6 million, Hsu NT$2 million and Mark Chen NT$500,000.
During questioning, all six reportedly denied the bribery allegations, saying the money they received was political donations or loans, and that the money did not go into their own pockets, but was used for legitimate expenses.
During a raid of Chao’s residence on Friday, investigators reportedly found NT$9.2 million in cash in a bag, which they suspect was a bribe from Kuo on behalf of the two funeral service companies.
Additional reporting by CNA
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