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Farglory chairman free on bail, Taoyuan County ex-official charged
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-25 04:03 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutors requested heavy sentences for former Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Ye Shi-wen and Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung as they indicted them Friday for alleged corruption involving low-cost housing projects. Chao was freed on bail of NT$30 million (US$1 million) later Friday evening.

Ye was detained and sacked last May as allegations surfaced he had accepted NT$16 million (US$534,000) in bribes from Chao in return for awarding him the contract to build a housing complex in Pateh, Taoyuan County.

After the scandal broke, Ye’s record as head of the Ministry of Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency also came under review, leading to accusations that he had also received money from Farglory for a similar project in Linkou, New Taipei City.

In the charges Friday, Ye was accused of having demanded a total of NT$52 million (US$1.7 million) from Farglory for the construction in Pateh and Linkou but also for a reconversion project in Hsinchu. In addition, he turned to another construction firm to demand NT$7.5 million (US$250,000) for new projects near Tamshui, New Taipei City, leading prosecutors to conclude that he should receive a severe punishment when the court issues its verdict.

The prosecutors made the same comment against Chao, accusing him of having misused the good intentions of the government to build homes for low-income families as an opportunity to pay bribes to civil servants.

Prosecutors also issued indictments Friday against Farglory Land Development Vice President Wei Chun-hsiung and against retired National Taipei University of Technology architecture professor Tsai Jen-huei.

Because the latter reportedly agreed to turn witness for the prosecution and revealed details about the Linkou case, he was released on bail early, with prosecutors asking the court for leniency. The former professor reportedly transported large sums of cash in suitcases from Farglory to Ye and also served on committees which judged bids for government construction contracts.

Ye, Chao and Wei were still being kept in detention Friday. Prosecutors reportedly wanted them to stay there, as more cases were still under investigation, reports said. The Farglory chief, one of Taiwan’s highest-profile business leaders, has repeatedly argued that he had told investigators everything he knew about the case and should therefore be released, but courts rejected his requests.

The former Taoyuan County official, who was sacked on May 30 after a raid turned up millions of New Taiwan dollars in cast at his home and office, was also facing another charge under the Anti-Corruption Act of holding NT$30 million (US$1 million) which he could not explain.

His secretary Chen Li-ling was named as a co-defendant for using undue influence to obtain discounts on a home and its interior decoration from a developer, reports said. The woman followed Ye in his career and offered him bank accounts to be used for money laundering, reports said.

The scandal posed a problem for Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu, who is running to become the first mayor of the newly upgraded area when it becomes a special municipality known as Taoyuan City by the end of the year. His quick decision to sack Ye, whom he had only appointed as his deputy last year, seemed to have defused the political threat, according to recent opinion polls.

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