Farglory middleman turns witness for the prosecution
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-04 04:01 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The retired architecture professor who allegedly functioned as a middleman between a construction firm and a senior Taoyuan County official in a corruption scandal turned witness for the prosecution, reports said Friday.

Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung was detained on June 3 over allegations he gave NT$16 million (US$532,000) to Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Ye Shi-wen in return for winning the contract to build a low-cost apartment complex in the county’s Pateh City. The case has also led to the detention of Ye, an associate of Chao and retired architecture professor Tsai Jen-huei, who was accused of having carted the payment from Farglory to Ye in a piece of luggage.

In addition to having his request to become witness for the prosecution approved, Tsai also alleged irregularities with a similar project for low-cost apartments in Linkou, New Taipei City, reports said Friday.

The investigation into the Pateh case was nearing its end, but in order to win an eventual release on bail, Tsai was alleging that another construction firm might be involved in corruption surrounding the Linkou project, reports said.

At a questioning session by prosecutors Friday morning, Tsai asked a student to provide the investigators with documents related to the Linkou case. Because the information was helpful, the prosecutors decided to agree to the former professor’s request to turn witness for the prosecution, reports said.

The new development might lead to another wave of raids and interrogations in the near future, according to media reports.

After the Pateh scandal broke, Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu immediately sacked Ye, who was also expelled from the ruling Kuomintang, reports said. Because Ye served in an important position at the Ministry of Interior before he joined the Taoyuan County Government last year, suspicions arose that he might have had a hand in illegal practices surrounding other construction deals. Ye also played a key role in promoting the county’s Aerotropolis project, though no corruption allegations have been leveled in that case yet.

Last month, Chao, one of the nation’s highest-profile businessmen, tried several times to be freed on bail, but his appeals against his detention were repeatedly defeated. He claimed he had told prosecutors everything he knew about the Pateh case, but they claimed he could still collude with other suspects or escape overseas.

Farglory was also involved in the Linkou low-cost apartments, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis and the “Giant Egg” sports stadium in Taipei City.

Top KMT politicians denied they had received funding from Chao’s group, while observers commented the scandal could affect Wu’s chances to become the first mayor of Taoyuan City, the new name for Taoyuan County after it is elevated to special municipality status at the end of this year. The election is scheduled for November 29.

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