No MND comment on alleged Mirage graft
The China PostBy Joseph Yeh--The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday refused to comment on a local media report that said it recently filed a complaint against France over alleged illegal commissions and kickbacks surrounding the 1992 sale of 60 Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft.
January 15, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
MND spokesman Luo Shou-he downplayed the reported lawsuit, saying only that the ministry will safeguard the national interest in all instances.
Taiwan's Air Force also refused to comment on the report yesterday, citing confidentiality.
These responses follow a Chinese-language United Daily News report from yesterday which said Taiwan filed a complaint to the International Court of Arbitration late last year over alleged illegal commissions and kickbacks regarding a 1992 sale of Mirage fighters between Paris and Taipei.
Taiwan bought a total of 60 Mirage 2000-5 planes in 1992 from French firm Dassault Aviation at a cost of nearly NT$160 billion.
According to French media reports, however, Taiwan paid additional commissions for the aircraft.
The discrepancy later forced the Control Yuan, Taiwan's government watch dog, to launch an investigation into the case in 2002.
The MND decided to file a complaint in late 2012 as it had previously won an arbitrary ruling against France's Thales defense group regarding the purchase of six Lafayette frigates in June, 2011, the news report said.
In the previous ruling, the French group, after losing an appeal, was asked to pay Taiwan's military a sanction of US$875 million for the payment of commissions in the 1991 purchase of Lafayette-class frigates.
The result of this ruling ensured the MND were more confident about filing for arbitration regarding the Mirage fighter purchases, the report said.
In October 2011, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu confirmed that the MND had been collecting information regarding the Mirage contract and that the ministry would file a complaint in 2012.