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Taiwan businessman in Twin Towers scandal ordered detained
Attorney complains against 2 detentions and 2 releases on bail in one week
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-04-04 07:17 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – For the second time in a week, the Taipei District Court on Thursday ordered the detention of Cheng Hung-tao, the businessman who allegedly paid the bribes in the Twin Towers scandal.

Over the past week, a series of rulings and appeals led to two releases on bail and two detention orders for Cheng, the main backer of Taipei Gateway International Development, the initial winner of the bid for the NT$70 billion (US$2.3 billion) Twin Towers project.

An attorney for Cheng immediately announced he would be filing an appeal against the latest court decision to detain the businessman in solitary confinement. Prosecutors have insisted that if he allowed to remained free, he might collude with other suspects, including individuals who have not been investigated yet. One witness and one defendant were still overseas, while Cheng was also suspected of forgery in the case of Malaysian backing for the Taipei Gateway bid, reports said.

Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ru, a confidante of President Ma Ying-jeou, was detained last weekend on suspicions she received at least NT$1 million (US$33,400) and was promised a further NT$9 million (US$301,000) if she backed Taipei Gateway’s bid.

Lai also appealed against her detention but the High Court ruled it should not be reconsidered. Her alleged involvement has rocked both the ruling Kuomintang and the Taipei City Government, as she enjoyed a relatively positive image until the scandal broke.

The affair also threw doubt on the ability of Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s administration to efficiently manage a large construction project. Investigators were reportedly still looking if illegal payments had benefited other city councilors and city government officials. The capital’s Department of Finance Commissioner Chiou Dah-jan was questioned about his alleged preference for the Taipei Gateway bid over its competitors.

As a result of the scandal, talks with the second-placed bidder for the Twin Towers, BES Engineering Corporation, had been postponed, Hau said.

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