Taoyuan deputy chief sacked, tycoon questioned over corruption case
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-30 02:27 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Ye Shi-wen was relieved of his duties Friday after prosecutors had taken him in for questioning and searched his home and office in an investigation surrounding alleged payments by one of Taiwan’s most prominent tycoons.

A report on the website of the Chinese-language Apple Daily suggested Ye had accepted more than NT$10 million (US$333,000) from a professor acting on behalf of Chao Teng-hsiung, the chairman of the Farglory Group and one of the country’s highest-profile businessmen. In return for the money, Ye reportedly approved Farglory’s bid to build apartment building in the town of Pateh. He was in charge of the evaluation commission for the project, the Apple Daily said.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office sent investigators to search Ye’s home and office around noon, while they also took him back for questioning, reports said. Chao was reportedly among about 20 other people, mostly businessmen and commission members, who were the target of interrogations and raids Friday, reports said.

The searches turned up a total of NT$18 million (US$600,000) in questionable funds at the home and office of the Taoyuan County vice magistrate, reports said.

The Taoyuan County Government launched the tender for the Pateh project on January 28, while Farglory won the contract in April with a bid worth NT$1.29 billion (US$43 million), the Apple Daily wrote.

Prosecutors were unwilling to confirm Chao’s alleged involvement in the investigation, reports said.

After the news of the sudden investigation broke around noon Friday, Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu held a meeting with top officials and the county government announced the removal of Ye from his position. In a statement, he described the incident as “an important county government affair” and said he felt “pain and anger” over the case.

Initially there was uncertainty about whether the case Ye was being investigated for could date back to his previous function as the head of the Construction and Planning Agency under the central government’s Ministry of the Interior.

The news comes in the run-up to the November 29 elections, with incumbent Kuomintang member Wu frequently mentioned as the frontrunner to become the first mayor of Taoyuan City, the region’s new name after it will be raised to the level of a special municipality. Wu is a son of KMT Honorary Chairman Wu Po-hsiung.

Before joining the MOI, he served as director at several of Taiwan’s best-known national parks, including Yushan, Yangmingshan and Taroko, reports said. He retired early from the MOI in June last year and joined the Taoyuan County Government one month later.

As is the practice in judicial investigations, further interrogations and the announcement of charges were not expected until later Friday evening or even Saturday morning.

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