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September 20, 2017

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SID denies reluctance to delve into Lin case

Special Investigation Division (SID, 特偵組) spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) yesterday rebutted local reports that the SID is reluctant to delve into the bribery case of former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世).

Chen said that if the SID had not wanted to conduct a thorough investigation the division would not have extended Lin's incarceration.

A Next Magazine report suggested that instead of carefully examining the case, the SID had chosen to exert pressure on Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), owner of Ti Yung Co., in an attempt to have him alter his confession to become more similar to Lin's. In June, Chen turned himself in, confessing that he had bribed Lin.

The magazine suggested that by creating consistency between the two statements, the SID could conclude the case as soon as possible by prosecuting Lin in October. This would avoid the need to investigate the sources behind cash funds connected to Lin, which reports say are larger than the reported bribe involving Chen. Lin has said he cannot explain this larger sum. The magazine suggested this approach ensures any potential involvement by other government officials is unlikely to be uncovered.

The SID can keep Lin in custody until Oct. 31. At the conclusion of this period, the SID must either release or prosecute Lin.

In his first statement, Chen said his girlfriend brought US$1.93 million in cash in two bags to Lin's residence. Chen said this happened only once.

Lin, however, said that Chen came to his residence several times to pay money. Lin said that Chen paid using both New Taiwan dollars and U.S. dollars. According to Lin, when Chen's girlfriend went to Lin's residence with the two bags, the total sum equaled NT$3 million, as opposed to the much larger sum of US$1.93 million. In Lin's version, Chen also attended that exchange.

Next Magazine revealed that Chen has changed his statement. The magazine reported that contrary to his previous claims, Chen said that he paid Lin in both New Taiwan dollars and U.S. dollars, which is similar to the version of events offered by Lin. As for the exact amount of cash he paid in each currency and how many times he went to Lin's place, Chen said that he did not remember.

Next Magazine suggests that the SID had interrogated Chen's two sons. This reportedly terrified Chen, making him agree to change his confession.

Chen and Lin both agreed that the total bribe was US$1.93 million, or NT$63 million.

Local media reported that the police could not find the amount of cash in U.S. dollars that Chen claims to have paid.

Lin is also reported to have failed a polygraph test. For his first statement Chen passed the test.

The SID spokesman said the report was misleading. He also said the SID will withhold details until the investigation is concluded.

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