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September 21, 2017

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Chao 'forced' to pay massive bribe: attorney

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) yesterday released a press statement via his attorney Chou Tsa-hsiung (周燦雄) saying that he was forced to give a NT$16 million bribe and he feels sorry for causing a disturbance.

The Taiwan High Court yesterday morning maintained the Taipei District Court's ruling to detain and hold incommunicado Chao as well as Wei Chun-hsiung (魏春雄), a senior executive at Farglory, over allegations of paying a bribe of NT$16 million through an intermediary to Taoyuan County Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) to secure a public housing development contract. Farglory won the contract in April with a NT$1.3-billion bid.

After visiting Chao at the Taipei Detention Center, Chou yesterday quoted Chao as saying that the reason Chao denied offering the bribe at first was to protect other people involved in the case. Chao was later persuaded by prosecutors to tell the truth.

Chao apologized in his statement for the furor caused by the case.

Chao did not want to "put everyone on the spot," the lawyer said, adding that Chao gave the bribe because he had no choice.

When asked by reporters about the identities of the people Chao referred to, instead of offering a direct answer, Chou said the money was offered to "someone else" via former college professor Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠). Chao had no idea who Tsai gave the money to, Chou added.

Given that Taoyuan Magistrate John Wu (吳志揚) on Monday announced that the affordable public housing project Farglory secured will be scrapped, Chao responded to the decision by saying that Farglory will not seek compensation from the government for nullifying the bid.

Chao Denies Prosecutors' Claim

Taipei prosecutors recently said that, according to a wiretap transcript, Chao told one of his employees that "these sorts of things are best solved with money," indicating that Farglory may have been involved in other more bribery to win contracts.

Chao yesterday denied prosecutors' remarks, stressing that he has never said anything of the sort. The accusation has dealt a great deal of harm to Chao, the lawyer said.

Farglory Group yesterday denied speculation claiming that the company attempted to destroy relevant evidence, noting that it is an untrue accusation and the company will explain the matter to a court session soon.

Taipei prosecutors and Agency Against Corruption officials on June 1 raided a paper recycling plant and discovered a total of 69 boxes of evidence relevant to the case and belonging to Farglory. Prosecutors later said they believe the company attempted to destroy the evidence at Chao's behest.

According to an article published by the United Evening News yesterday, Chao has been monitored by prosecutors for over four years. The article claimed that prosecutors have suspected Chao's involvement in giving bribes to officials to win public construction contracts for a long period of time.

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