The Two Million Dollar Taiwan Independence Slush Fund?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 9, 2008
Summary: Yesterday Chen Shui-bian and Yeh Sheng-mao testified in court. The biggest bombshell was Chen Shui-bian's claim that in February of this year he deposited 2 million USD (approximately 60 million NTD) in "a certain Taiwan independence elder's" overseas accounts. He claimed the funds were to be used for international diplomacy and public relations, and that it was in effect a "Taiwan independence fund." Can the Taiwan independence movement's conscience be bought for 2 million dollars? Chen Shui-bian's contempt for the Taiwan independence movement's intelligence and integrity is abundantly clear.
Full Text below:
Yesterday Chen Shui-bian and Yeh Sheng-mao testified in court. The biggest bombshell was Chen Shui-bian's claim that in February of this year he deposited 2 million USD (approximately 60 million NTD) in "a certain Taiwan independence elder's" overseas accounts. He claimed the money was to be used for international diplomacy and public relations, and that it was in effect a "Taiwan independence fund."
Chen Shui-bian's claim has at least three implications. One. The Chen family's overseas accounts are not limited to the 700 million dollars frozen by a Swiss bank. Sure enough, out popped another 2 million. Two. During his term of office Chen Shui-bian enjoyed immunity from criminal prosecution. Obviously his legal defense strategy was laid out long ago. The 2 million dollar "Taiwan independence fund" was deliberately planted. It is a red herring. Three. The "Taiwan independence fund" is not part of A Bian's legal defense strategy. It is part of a political strategy.
Those familiar with the law will see at a glance that the 2 million dollars is part of a ploy. If the 2 million dollars proves to be dirty money, to be part of Chen's slush fund, a number of consequences are likely. One. The court must recover the stolen money. Two. If the "elder" cares about his reputation, he will not accept dirty money for the Great Cause of Taiwan Independence. Three. The judge may order Chen Shui-bian to return the 2 million in dirty money and pay a gift tax. He may even fine him up to 50 million NTD. Four. If Chen Shui-bian refuses to return the money and pay gift taxes, the court may place a lien on his property. Five. The "elder" may be charged with receiving stolen goods, and required to return the money. Six. In that event, the "elder" may feel compelled to return the money in order to protect the image of the Taiwan independence movement. Chen Shui-bian will probably still be obligated to pay the gift tax.
Chen Shui-bian knows the law. He understands perfectly the legal and political ramifications of the 2 million dollar account. He knows the "fund" will eventually be exposed for what it is. But he insists on enacting this charade. The 2 million dollar "fund" is not enough to convict the Chen family on charges of graft and money laundering. Chen Shui-bian is enacting this charade for the benefit of the Green camp, for the sake of political accountability. The "Taiwan independence fund" is an illusion. It is merely evidence planted to "prove" he is innocent of graft. We still do not know who the "elder" is, and whether he transferred the funds in February in collusion with Chen Shui-bian. In effect, Chen Shui-bian shoved the dirty money into the "elder's" hands. He exploited the "elder's" reputation. He dragged the "elder" down with him. In effect, he sullied the image of Taiwan independence with dirty money.
The revelation of the 2 million dollar "fund" has put a shine on Bian's halo. Chen Shui-bian has been boasting about his generosity toward the Democratic Progressive Party and the Green Camp. This may not lead to his acquittal. This may not gloss over the lie that "not one dime ever entered my pockets." But this "explanation" is bound to evoke grass-roots sympathy and support within the Green camp. The 2 million dollars is not a "Taiwan independence Fund." The Green Camp may allow itself to be bought off with this "fund." But it will never see a single cent of the "fund." What it will see is Chen Shui-bian's corruption, fraud, and deceit. Will the Taiwan independence movement allow itself to be bought off for 2 million dollars? Will accepting the 2 million dollars leave the Taiwan independence movement with a stain that will never wash out?
Yeh Sheng-mao, who is suspected of complicity in graft, became the focus of yesterday's hearing. The Question and Answer session concentrated on the leaking of secrets and money-laundering. It forced Chen Shui-bian to reveal the outlines of his money-laundering scheme. The holes in his scheme became apparent. This development is extremely unfavorable to Chen Shui-bian's State Affairs Fund case and money-laundering case. Investigators must focus on the leaking of secrets. They must not fly off on tangents. If the progress and scope of the case exceeds the purview of the Special Investigation Unit, it may be decried as "double jeopardy."
Chen Shui-bian has already admitted he "questioned" Wu Shu-chen. In other words, he told Wu Shu-chen what Yeh Sheng-mao was doing about her case. In other words, he is already guilty of leaking evidence. As for the debate over what constitutes "information" and what constitutes an "official document," Yeh Sheng-mao retained a photocopy. Therefore Chen Shui-bian will find it difficult to evade prosecution for destroying official documents. After all, he has already admitted he "discarded them." Once the Yeh case reaches the appropriate stage, Chen Shui-bian must report to the judge and be indicted by the prosecutor. Chen Shui-bian's chances of acquittal are slim to none.
Can the Taiwan independence movement's conscience be bought for 2 million dollars? Chen Shui-bian's contempt for the Taiwan independence movement's intelligence and integrity is abundantly clear.
2008.10.09 03:03 am
陳水扁的供詞，至少可有三點解讀：一、扁家在海外的存款，果然不止是瑞士銀行查扣凍結的「海角七億」，現在不就又冒出了二百萬美金嗎？二、陳水扁在任內刑 事豁免的數年間，顯然早已完成訴訟策略的構思與部署，這二百萬美金就是他為「台獨基金」預設的「證據」。三、「台獨基金」不止是司法訴訟的辯詞，更是他政 治操作的策略。
但是，通曉法律者一眼即可看出，這二百萬美元根本是個充滿權謀計算的假動作；因為，倘若未來證明這二百萬美金是出自貪汙贓款的大水庫中，很可能發生以下後 果：一、法院必將追繳這筆贓款；二、這名大老若是稍具清望，亦不致同意將這些髒錢用於台獨大業；三、司法當局可判處陳水扁繳回二百萬美元贓款，並命其繳納 贈與稅，連罰金可達新台幣約五千萬元；四、倘若陳水扁拒繳贓款及稅金，可追徵其家產抵數；五、大老可能涉嫌「收贓」，在法律上必須繳回；六、若發展至此種 情勢，大老為顧惜台獨形象，應當會將錢繳回，但陳水扁恐仍不能免於補繳贈與稅。
陳水扁通曉法律，他對於這二百萬美元在法律及政治上的上述效應早已計算清楚；然而，他雖明知這筆「基金」最後勢將落空，但他仍處心積慮地做出了這個假動 作。這二百萬美元的「基金」，在法律上無論如何皆不足辯解扁家的貪汙洗錢罪行；陳水扁要這樣做，主要是在為案發後向綠營作政治交代，欲藉以狡證他不是貪汙 自肥，而是確有「台獨基金」的構想並已見諸實際行動。如今尚不知這名「大老」的身分，亦不知他究竟是與陳水扁套招或在二月收錢時並不知情；倘係不知情，陳 水扁形同將贓款硬塞到大老手中，不但是惡意利用了這名大老，拖人下水，也不啻是用髒錢汙染了台獨的形象。
這二百萬美元的曝光，使得扁案更加金光閃爍。陳水扁一路以來，不斷揭示他對民進黨及綠營的大量金錢資助，這未必能在司法上脫罪，亦不可能圓飾「一毛錢未入 個人口袋」的謊言；但他的這套說詞，必然可以引發綠營基層的同情與支持。所以，這不是「台獨基金」，而是綠營看不到也拿不到的「收買基金」。然而，陳水扁 的貪腐及騙詐狡賴卻是天日共見的事實，台獨難道相信那轉彎抹角匯到海外的二百萬美金是清白的？難道台獨的理智會受二百萬美元蒙蔽收買？動用這二百萬美金髒 錢會不會使台獨永遠洗刷不清？
昨日開庭的另一焦點，是因葉案又涉圖利罪，所以庭訊內容涉及洩密與洗錢的關係；問答之間，形同逼使陳水扁將貪汙案及洗錢案的辯護架構充分暴露，破綻百出， 這對陳水扁在國務費案及洗錢案的情勢甚為不利。不過，葉案似仍應以洩密案為重點，不必橫生枝節；若在進度及範圍上超越了特偵組的專案，未來恐將涉及「一事 不再理」的爭議。
至於洩密案，姑不論其他，陳水扁既已承認他將葉盛茂告知之事，「詢問」犯罪嫌疑人吳淑珍，如此即已經成為洩密罪之共犯；至於「情資／公文」之辯，只要認定 葉盛茂自留之影印本為公文，則陳水扁亦難逃隱匿或毀棄公文之罪，畢竟他也承認「扔掉了」。待葉案審判進行至適當階段，法官即可將陳水扁告發，由地檢署起 訴。陳水扁欲脫罪，機率極微。