Next, Recover Funds Embezzled by Lee Teng-hui
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 1, 2011
Lee Teng-hui and Liu Tai-ying used secret National Security Bureau accounts to embezzle over $7.79 million USD from the nation's coffers. As a result, they have been indicted by the Special Investigation Unit for corruption, money laundering, and other felonies.
When one stops to think about it, this case is truly bizzarre. Consider the way the case developed. Chen Shui-bian had a falling out with Lee Teng-hui. He repeatedly leveled allegations of embezzlement against Lee. That led to the Special Investigation Unit investigation. This major scandal occurred in 1999. But the indictment was delayed until today. During this period political considerations by opportunistic or fence-sitting justice officials prevented prosecution. All those involved, as well as those indicted, should enage in serious soul-searching.
The Special Investigation Unit discovered that Lee Teng-hui abused his authority to enrich himself at the public trough. In 1994, Lee Teng-hui took 10,5 million USD from secret national security accounts, ostensibly for foreign relations. Between 1995 and 1997, then National Security Bureau (NSB) Chief Ying Chung-wen made up the shortfall, using of NSB funds. The shortfall was only 89 million NTD. But Lee Teng-hui, Liu Tai-ying, and Ying Chung-wen arranged for the purchase of a building for the Taiwan Research Institute, to be used as a political base after their retirement. The two knew perfectly well that the NSB had already made up most of the funds. But they demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cough up over 10 million USD anyway, and return it to the National Security Bureau. From the very beginning , they made up their minds to wait until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed the money over. They themselves would return only the final shortfall in the secret national security account -- 89 million NTD. The remaining 200 million NTD, or 7.79 million USD, was diverted into Lee's private accounts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially objected. But President Lee Teng-hui instructed Presidential Office Chief Su Chih-cheng to repeatedly pressure the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the end, it agreed to pay back the money, and to act as the fall guy.
To cover up Lee's corruption, Liu Tai-ying and Yin Chung-wen agreed to use Hsu Ping-chiang and Liu Kuan-chun. In the name of an NSB secret mission, they ordered a domestic bank to open a U.S. account under a pseudonym. Then in the name of the National Security Bureau, they ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to transfer funds into that account. This would avoid an Internal audit by the National Security Bureau. Once the funds were transferred, a small amount was withdrawn and put back in the NSB secret account. Yin Chung-wen instructed Hsu Ping-chiang to issue 7500 travelers checks, totalling 7.5 million USD, along with 290,000 USD in cash, stuff them into two large fruit cartons, and deliver them to Liu Tai-ying. Apparently corrupt officals on Taiwan share certain predilictions. They love stuffing their dirty money into fruit cartons. President Lee Teng-hui and the National Security Bureau were no exception.
This huge sum of money in Liu Tai-ying's hands was hard to deal with. As a result, Liu Tai-ying sought out Yin Yan-liang for help in laundering the money. First, Liu Tai-ying used 400,000 USD for private purposes. Then he turned the remainder over to Yin. Yin used a number of dummy accounts to "donate" the money to the Taiwan Research Institute. At this point, Lee mysteriously misappropriated most of the stolen money, and Liu Tai-ying secretly pocketed some of the money as well.
In 2002, Liu Kuan-chun ran from the law. The media began reporting problems with the national security secret account, Hsu Ping-chiang realized he had been used. He sought out Yin Chung-wen, and asked him to straighten the matter out. In order to cover up Lee's crimes, Yin Chung-wen sought out Liu Tai-ying, and asked him to backdate receipts. He turned them over to Hsu Ping-chiang, who then turned them over to the National Security Bureau. Together they visited Ta Hsi in Taoyuan County, to meet with Lee Teng-hui and discuss how to falsify documents. They lied, claiming that the National Security Bureau had provided grants to the Taiwan Research Institute. They falsified evidence repeatedly. But the conspirators were unable to keep their story straight. This led prosecutors to conclude they were guilty.
Actually, the media reported on the case in 2002. The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office Investigated. The pertinent facts were rendered crystal clear. But prosecutors were subject to political interference, The only one indicted was Hsu Ping-chiang, a minor player. Yin Chung-wen was already deceased. Lee Teng-hui and Liu Tai-ying were not even mentioned. Such selective prosecution meant that the truth of the case could not emerge. Hsu Ping-chiang was merely following orders. That made it difficult to charge him with any crimes. As expected, Hsu Ping-chiang was found not guilty. The real perpetrators were not indicted until today.
By prosecuting this case, the Special Investigation Unit is "locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen." It is finally upholding justice. Most controversial of all is the National Security Bureau. Hsu Ping-chiang had been indicted. The Taiwan Research Institute improperly obtained public funds. These were established facts. The money had been fraudulently acquired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The National Security Bureau had hand delivered it to the Taiwan Research Institute. The National Security Bureau must bear responsibility. It must recover the money. But over the years, the National Security Bureau did nothing. It watched idly as public funds were embezzled. The prosecution has finally charged Lee Teng-hui with a crime. Now, does the NSB intend to recover the stolen money or not?
2011.07.01 03:02 am