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Prosecutors say that Farglory chief may turn state witness

Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) yesterday faced his first hearing in the government housing bribery scandal, with prosecutors not ruling out the possibility of turning Chao into a state witness.

 Reportedly, following days of research and examination of documents relating to the Bade housing project bribery case, prosecutor Chen Yu-ping (陳玉萍) questioned middleman Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠) at the Taipei Detention Center for careful inspection in building a solid case. Chen hoped to get a clear picture of Chao's bribing history.

 Chao had initially insisted that he did not bribe anyone. The statement was later changed, with Chao stating that he had done so under pressure, with local media reporting that Chao has been recorded to have said that the solution to this kind of situation is money.

 Chao later received his hearing on the case in the afternoon. Chao was photographed wearing a shirt and black pants with a pair of prison issue flip-flops and a pair of cuffs on his wrists as he exited the prison van. After an hourlong hearing at the court, Chao was returned to the detention center.

  Prosecutors are said to be widening their inspections in search of other possible cases of corruption and bribery of politicians who accepted money from the Farglory Group. The prosecutors are also seeking to get Chao to become a witness. The decision to attempt to turn Chao stems from his wide ranging connections in politics and business, which could lead prosecutors to more suspects in exchange for a lesser sentence and possible freedom.

Chao's Lawyer Not at Liberty to Confirm Witness Rumors

When questioned by local media as to whether Chao will become a witness, Chao's lawyer Tsai Tiao-chang (蔡調彰) was quoted to have said yesterday that he is not at liberty to discuss the case with media as the case is still an ongoing investigation.

Tsai said to media that, as a dedicated entrepreneur, Chao is very concerned with the progress of the Taipei Dome, and he believes that he is the only person qualified to manage a project of such a large scale.

The media later questioned Tsai on what Chao wishes to declare to prosecutors and on Chao's current state of health. In response, the lawyer answered that they will do whatever they can to help with the prosecutors' investigations, and that Chao is a 70 year old man, implying to authorities that they ought to be lenient toward him.

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Pictured wearing a pair of handcuffs, Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) is escorted by police to his first hearing on the Bade housing project bribery case, yesterday. ...

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