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Jul 13, 2007

Hsieh charged in bribery scandal

玉皇宮案改列被告 謝長廷:經得起考驗 (CNA)

Edit: Correction from Feiren:

Hey A-gu,

Hsieh is under investigation by the prosecutors for accepting an allegedly illegal political contribution from Yuhang Temple. During the investigation phase, parties under investigation can be listed as witnesses or as defendants. Being listed as a defendant is significant because it prepares the way for the person so listed to be indicted at the end of the investigation. hth



Since this started as a rumor, I was ignoring it. But the CNA article is more authoritative and Hsieh has already said he will be able to "withstand the trial." Not sure if he means a legal trial or a more general one or jsut meant to be vague.

In any case, this should start getting ugly in a hurry.

Basic background on the situation:

Prosecutors discovered in January that Hsieh had received a sum of NT$2.8 million from Hsu Wen-liang (許文良), the chief of the temple.

Prosecutors suspect the money was a payment in exchange for Hsieh's approval of the illegal construction of part of the temple.

And:
Whereas Hsieh claimed the money was a political donation during the mayoral campaign, prosecutors suspect the money was a payment for Hsieh's approval of an illegally constructed part of the temple. ...

Regarding the vote-buying scam and the payment from the temple, Hsieh has been vague about whether he knew Wang was helping Chu and about why he accepted the payment from Hsu.

Here's Frankie's interview with the Liberty Times translated into English. Excerpt:

LT: The prosecutors' office revealed that Yu Huang Temple's (玉皇宮) NT$2.8 million political donation to you was made payable in five different instalments to a woman surnamed Lu. What do you say about this?

Hsieh: It's another war of words. The DPP has long had a standard procedure in dealing with political donations. Yu Huang Temple gave the money to Wang and then Wang gave the money directly to my campaign headquarters and informed me of it. I then asked him to report to party headquarters, so the money went from the campaign headquarters to the party system. But I found out in my inquiry afterward that one of the checks had already been cashed by my campaign headquarters. So I have admitted that my campaign headquarters took a political donation from the Yu Huang Temple, and the amount of the money has been verified. These comments do not make any difference.

If I can be frank, a candidate is as busy as can be during the campaign period. Who would have time to care about the donations? Kaohsiung City has 11 districts. We set up a campaign office in each district and there was more than one office in some districts. Headquarters gave NT$ 50,000 to each district office to pay for part of their expenses and each office tried to raise funds to cover other expenses. Some offices couldn't get donations, but that didn't matter.

LT: Why did the Yu Huang Temple (玉皇宮) contribute to your support group but not your campaign headquarters?

Hsieh: This is because of the Election and Recall Law's (選舉罷免法) maximum limit on campaign expenditure. The limit for the Kaohsiung mayoral election is NT$18 million. But would people who are running campaigns spend such a little amount of money? It's inconceivable. For instance, I reported my campaign expenditure as NT$18 million [to the Election Commission], and reported the other NT$68 million as my support group's expenditure. But I will still be punished [for violating the regulation.]

Huang Jun-ying (黃俊英) reported that he prepared NT$9 million for the campaign, and received NT$9 million in donations, bringing his total campaign expenditure to NT$18 million as well. But, do you believe that? I am curious about how [Taipei City Mayor] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reported his campaign expenditure, too.

1 comment:

Feiren said...

Hey A-gu,

Hsieh is under investigation by the prosecutors for accepting an allegedly illegal political contribution from Yuhang Temple. During the investigation phase, parties under investigation can be listed as witnesses or as defendants. Being listed as a defendant is significant because it prepares the way for the person so listed to be indicted at the end of the investigation. hth