Court rejects Farglory chief's request
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-18 03:38 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taipei District Court rejected an application by attorneys for Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung for his release Wednesday in the case of alleged bribe payments to former Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Ye Shi-wen.

The tycoon was detained on June 3 over allegations he gave NT$16 million (US$532,000) to Ye in return for winning the contract to build a low-cost apartment complex in the town of Pateh. The case has also led to the detention of Ye, an associate of Chao and an architecture professor who functioned as an intermediary.

A Farglory spokesman said Wednesday that the company chairman had already told prosecutors everything he knew about the case, and there was therefore no need to keep him detained as if he could still collude with other suspects.

The Taipei District Court ordered Chao to attend its session Wednesday afternoon to evaluate his attorney’s request to free him. As predicted by part of the media, the court concluded after three hours of discussion that the high-profile businessman should remain behind bars as the original detention period of two months had not been completed yet.

After the scandal broke, Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu, who is running for mayor in November elections, immediately sacked Ye and several other senior officials in his team and announced the end of its cooperation with Chao’s company on the Pateh homes. The former vice magistrate reportedly admitted he had asked the tycoon for a total of NT$26 million (US$866,000) in return for influencing an evaluation commission in favor of his bid.

The bribery allegations have led investigators to take a closer look at other projects where the Farglory Group and Ye, who used to serve at the Ministry of Interior until last year, were involved. The real estate company also worked on similar low-cost apartment complexes in New Taipei City and in the Hsinchu area, reports said. In addition, the group was also one of the driving forces behind the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project and the “Giant Egg” sports stadium in Taipei City.

Leading Kuomintang officials including Vice President Wu Den-yih, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu and Taoyuan County’s Wu denied having close links to Farglory.

Local and regional elections scheduled for November 29 were already difficult for President Ma Ying-jeou’s embattled party, but the Farglory scandal was likely to endanger even more KMT city mayors and county magistrates, commentators said. With major Farglory projects were spread over several regions and cities of northern Taiwan, all of them held by prominent KMT mayors and magistrates, the scandal was likely to damage the party’s candidates in those areas, reports said.

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