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Yeh asked for Farglory bribe: prosecutors

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Citing former Taoyuan County Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文), Taipei prosecutors yesterday said Yeh for the first time confessed that he asked for a NT$26 million bribe from Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄).

Chao allegedly ordered Wei Chun-hsiung (魏春雄) — a senior executive in Farglory — to give bribe to Yeh via intermediary Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠) to secure a government public housing development contract in Bade of Taoyuan County.

The aforementioned four suspects are currently detained and held incommunicado pending a formal indictment.

Prosecutors said that Chao, Wei and Tsai have separately confessed regarding their involvement in the bribery case in various court sessions, noting that Yeh previously insisted that the NT$16 million in cash was a loan until a questioning session yesterday.

Taipei prosecutors on Tuesday and Wednesday questioned Yeh at the Taipei Detention Center over the alleged bribery case. Prosecutors quoted Yeh as saying that he asked for a NT$26 million bribe from Chao as the latter showed strong interest in the Bade public housing project.

On May 29 Tsai offered a piece of carry-on luggage loaded with NT$16 million in cash to Yeh at a Japanese restaurant in Taipei City and told the latter that a second installment of the bribe would be given to him on June 2, prosecutors quoted Yeh as saying, adding that Yeh was arrested the day after receiving the NT$16 million.

Yeh claimed that although he was one of the housing project reviewing committee members, the result of the bid was decided by a majority vote. The bidding process for the housing project did not violate any regulations, Yeh claimed.

Taipei prosecutors said that they discovered Yeh bought a luxury apartment constructed by Highwealth Construction in Hsinchuan District of New Taipei City under the name of his close female friend Chen Li-ling (陳麗玲) and two other apartments built by Jaysanlyn Group in Xizhi District of New Taipei under his son's name.

The prosecutors suspect that the funds Yeh spent on buying the apartments might be related to bribes he took from other people tied to different development bidding opportunities.

Yeh responded to prosecutors' allegations, claiming that Highwealth Construction offered him a cheaper price to buy the apartment in Hsinchuan. As for the two apartments in Xizhi, Yeh said his two sons applied for loans from banks, stressing the he did not ask the construction consortiums to give him bribes.

According to a source at the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office (TDPO), investigators still suspect that while Yeh served at the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) he might have had inappropriate connections with local construction companies.

The TDPO has requested the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) to further investigate Yeh's financial status.

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