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June 24, 2017

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AIT verifies Ma doesn't have Green Card: officials

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Presidential Office yesterday disclosed an official document written by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Joseph R. Donovan to Taiwan's de facto ambassador in the U.S., confirming that President Ma Ying-jeou's "abandonment of his former legal permanent resident status has long been included in appropriate U.S. immigration system records."

Next Magazine on Wednesday published an article claiming that given his "Green Card status," the president is subject to U.S. taxes under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The magazine explained that it wrote an email to IRS Beijing using the president's "Green Card details" and asked, while posing as "Mark Y. J. Ma," whether or not the president is required to pay taxes to the U.S. government.

According to the magazine, the IRS explained in its response that a Green Card can only become invalid if the holder submits a written statement to the relevant authorities.

The magazine admitted that it did not know whether the president had submitted a written statement to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but stressed that if the president had not, it would mean that he "lied" to the nation by saying that his Green Card had expired.

The magazine further claimed that if the president hasn't already submitted a written statement to the USCIS, then he would have to pay taxes to the U.S., adding that the president is poised to become an "international laughingstock."

The magazine demanded that the president apologize to the nation.

In response to the article, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) blasted the president, describing him as shameless and dishonest.

Former Chairmen Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) made similar remarks while speaking to the press.

The Presidential Office held a press conference the day the article was published, saying that if the president is indeed subject to U.S. taxes, he would take political responsibility by resigning.

The following day, the Presidential Office disclosed the AIT statement, refuting the magazine's claims.

According to the document, the managing director of the AIT confirmed that the president has long abandoned his Green Card status, adding that the "issue is therefore closed."

In response to the opposition's criticism, the Presidential Office asked Su, Yu and Hsieh to publicly promise that they would be willing to apologize to the nation for calling the head of state "shameless," an "international laughingstock" and a "liar."

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