Can Someone Incapable of Avoiding Conflicts of Interest Be President?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 13, 2011
Summary: The Yu Chang Technology Company scandal has erupted yet again. The DPP is either attempting to dismiss the scandal as KMT mud-slinging, or to make light of it, and deliberately downplay it as nothing new. But the facts speak for themselves. The Executive Yuan has declassified key documents. These prove that Tsai Ing-wen was preparing to become the Chairman of the Board of the TaiMed Group when she was still Vice Premier. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to provide details regarding the scandal. She cannot escape suspicion that she took the position in order to line her pockets.
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The Yu Chang Technology Company scandal has erupted yet again. The DPP is either attempting to dismiss the scandal as KMT mud-slinging, or to make light of it, and deliberately downplay it as nothing new. But the facts speak for themselves. The Executive Yuan has declassified key documents. These prove that Tsai Ing-wen was preparing to become the Chairman of the Board of the TaiMed Group when she was still Vice Premier. Tsai Ing-wen has yet to provide details regarding the scandal. She cannot escape suspicion that she took the position in order to line her pockets.
Yesterday CEPD Chairperson Christina Liu declassified two documents and provided copies to the Legislative Yuan. The TaiMed Group's name came up for the first time. According to Christina Liu, one of the documents set conditions requiring the company to provide signing bonuses. During the development process it required the payment of fees, royalties on sales, and research reports. Ho Mei-yueh, then Chairman of the Council for Economic Development and Planning (CEDP), was also the Convener of the National Development Fund (NDF). She signed the document and presented it to Tsai Ing-wen on March 21. Tsai Ing-wen signed the document on March 22. But the document was never signed by then Premier Su Tseng-chang.
Christina Liu says that Ho Mei-yueh, Convener of the National Development Fund, and the Academia Sinica cosigned a letter on March 31, 2007. According to the letter they would hold briefings urging TaiMed to establish a biotechnology company. Investors would be invited to the meeting, According to English language documents made available during the meeting, Tsai Ing-wen would become a key member of the company staff.
Blue Camp legislators have voiced grave concerns. Tsai Ing-wen was Vice Premier at the time. If the company was already in existence, it was effectively "approved for Tsai Ing-wen, by Tsai Ing-wen." This amounts to a serious conflict of interest.
The Yu Chang Technology Company scandal is definitely snowballing. Tsai Ing-wen is finding it increasingly difficult to rationalize away her conduct. Last week the CEPD report to the Legislative Yuan revealed that Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as vice premier in May 2007. She then became the TaiMed Group representative for biotech venture capital investments. Before the Yu Chang Technology Company was officially established, she twice wrote to the National Development Fund. She ordered funds wired to the Yu Chang Technology Company administrative offices. Minister of Economic Affairs That very day, Ho Mei-yueh approved the wire transfer, On September 3, the National Development Fund wired the Yu Chang Technology Company 40 million dollars.
The DPP has been evasive regarding conflict of interest charges. It says the biotech industry burns money, It says Tsai Ing-wen was a first time investor. She was providing "angel funds." She was fighting fires. But the DPP's response is evasive. It totally ignores Tsai Ing-wen's direct involvement while she was still vice premier. Tsai Ing-wen knew the government was interested in setting up the Yu Chang Technology Company. She knew the details of its plan to support the biotech industry.
The government planned to support the biotech industry. Thefore investing in the Yu Chang Technology Company was a sure thing. When Tsai Ing-wen was chairman of the TaiMed Group and the Yu Chang Technology Company. the National Development Fund wired these companies a total of 26.4 billion dollars in three installments.
Tsai Ing-wen had the advantage of advanced knowledge. How can her involvement be passed off as "angel investing?" In the marketplace, such behavior is known as insider trading. Tsai Ing-wen was a high-ranking official. She knew perfectly well that this constituted a conflict of interest.
Had the Yu Chang Technology Company scandal gone no further, Tsai Ing-wen would be guilty only of revolving door violations. According to Ministry of Civil Service Civil Service Laws, and Ministry of Economic Affairs Biotech Drug Industry Regulations, revolving door violations must be "directly related to one's job." Tsai Ing-wen was responsible for biotechnology industry decision-making. But because she was not directly administering the industry, she got a pass. Legally speaking, Tsai Ing-wen squeaked by. But politically and ethically, she was clearly guilty.
The DPP is desperately trying to rationalize away Tsai Ing-wen's effort to line her pockets. It argues that the Yu Chang Technology Company scandal broke only after Tsai Ing-wen left office. For example, DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai said that Su Tseng-chang entered the presidential primaries that year. He resigned temporarily as premier because he lost the nomination. How could Tsai Ing-wen have anticipated Su's resignation as premier? How could she have used her authority to approve biotech regulations or the National Development Fund investment case? DPP apologists argue that Tsai Ing-wen requested biotechnology funds only after stepping down. The chairman of the Yu Chang Technology Company then took over. Therefore, they argue, this was not a case of abusing the power of one's office for profit.
But the declassified documents released by the Council for Economic Planning yesterday prove otherwise. On March 22, Tsai Ing-wen signed the document. On March 31, TaiMed began setting up a biotechnology company. If what Christina Liu says is true, Tsai Ing-wen was a key individual in the company. Her claim that she was "never involved in setting up the Yu Chang Technology Company" is a lie. The Yu Chang Technology Company scandal is a case of "approved for Tsai Ing-wen by Tsai Ing-wen." The scandal is not merely a conflict of interest. The scandal is a case of abusing one's power to line one's pockets.
Tsai has yet to offer a satisfactory explanation, On the contrary. she has accused the KMT of character assassination, She is an embarrassment to our democracy. But if she becomes our head of state, she will be an even bigger embarrassment to our democracy. Tsai Ing-wen has lashed out at the KMT. She would do better to face the music. Tsai Ing-wen seeks high office. If she is this cavalier about conflicts of interest, how can voters permit her to govern the nation?