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June 28, 2017

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More indicted over Lin Yi-shih graft case

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Prosecutors have indicted more individuals in relation to the Lin Yi-shih (林益世) bribery case, including former China Steel manager Chen Cheng-jon (陳振榮) and Deputy Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Cai Chang-da (蔡昌達).

Both were indicted yesterday. According to prosecutors, Chen was involved in a bribery case that cost the company NT$2.4 billion. They said Chen was seen with the owner of Kaohsiung-based Ti Yung Co., Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥). Prosecutors allege that Chen Chi-hsiang bribed Chen Cheng-jon to lower the procurement prices of China Steel.

Prosecutors claim that Chen Cheng-jon offered to sell sulfur at a lower price, costing the company more than NT$1 million. He is also alleged to have slashed the price of slag waste, costing the company more than NT$2.3 million.

Prosecutors alleged that Cai threatened to blow the cover of China Steel and Ti Yung if they did not sell their low-priced slag waste to Tien Shan Company, which Cai had investments in. Although Cai did not succeed in his threat, prosecutors allege that he would have reaped more than NT$1 billion if he had secured the five-year deal with China Steel.

According to the indictment, Cai pressured the Kaohsiung County Department of Environmental Protection (DOEP) during an interpellation session in 2010. The indictment said that Cai pressured the former director of the DOEP, Wang Mao-sung (王茂松), to launch an investigation into Ti Yung over environmental issues.

Wang, who was not aware of any alleged bribery issues, promised to look into the issue. Under Wang's instructions, the company was questioned up to seven times in a single day regarding their environmental protection measures and given severe warnings.

Cai, who is currently overseas, issued a statement yesterday proclaiming his innocence. "I was simply serving the people, but someone had to accuse me. This is political prosecution," he said.

In the statement, Cai claimed that the scandal is an attempt by Chen Chi-hsiang to frame him in an act of revenge. Cai also states that he strongly suspects the government is targeting him because he is a pan-green politician. He is scheduled to return to Taiwan on June 17.

Investigators launched a probe last year after a local magazine reported that Lin, a former Executive Yuan secretary general, received bribes totaling NT$63 million from Chen Chi-hsiang to help Ti Yung secure a slag treatment contract from China Steel. Lin is alleged to have accpted the bribes while serving as a legislator for the ruling Kuomintang.

Lin later demanded a further NT$83 million from Chen, according to the report. When Chen refused to pay up, Lin pressured China Steel to stop supplying slag to Ti Yung, according to media sources.

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