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Prosecutors find report implicating VP in bribery case lacking

2012/07/11 17:33:51

Taipei, July 11 (CNA) A magazine report connecting Vice President Wu Den-yih to a high-profile bribery case involving former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih is not worth investigating because it did not make much of a case against him, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Next Magazine said in its latest issue released Wednesday that Lin, who has been held incommunicado since July 7 after confessing to taking bribes during his tenure as a legislator two years ago, had bragged of his close ties to Wu.

"Lin never hesitated to show off his strong friendships with senior government and ruling party policy makers," the tabloid quoted Chen Chi-hsiang, owner of Dih Yeon Industrial Co., as saying.

In an earlier Next Magazine story, Chen said he paid US$1.93 million in bribes to Lin for his help in getting a subsidiary of Kaohsiung-based China Steel Co., in which the government has a controlling stake, to award a slag treatment contract to Dih Yeon.

The latest report also cited Chen as revealing that Lin once told him: "Anything regarding Vice President Wu, I will completely take care of it."

Wu's office issued a statement Wednesday denying that the vice president played any role in the case and cited Wu as saying he had no way of preventing Lin from bragging.

The Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors Office said in a statement that even if the report were true, it did not provide any evidence that incriminated Wu or warranted a judicial investigation into Wu's possible role in the case.

The SID said, however, that State Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming has directed that the report be given to prosecutors in charge of investigating Lin's bribery case as reference.

According to Article 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prosecutors can open an investigation when they learn through a lawsuit, complaint or confession that somebody may have been involved in a criminal act.

Lin took over as Cabinet secretary-general shortly after losing his legislative re-election bid in January. He resigned from the post amid allegations that he took a bribe from Dih Yeon and then demanded in February and March 2012 an additional bribe of NT$83 million.

Chen rejected that demand and decided to go to Next Magazine with the story. He has now turned state's witness.

In the statement issued by Wu's office, it said that Wu did not engage in any business or illegal lobbying with the government during his tenure as a city councilor and later as a legislator.

"Who could handle anything on my behalf during my terms as premier and vice president since government regulations are even stricter for these posts than they are for lawmakers?" Wu asked in the statement.

On the previously exposed tape recordings in which Lin boasted of his importance and heavyweight status in the government, Wu said he had no way to prevent Lin from bragging.

Media reports said Chen's father-in-law once sought Wu's help during the latter's term as lawmaker, but Wu said in the statement that his office in Nantou County was closed immediately after he took over the premiership on Sept. 10, 2009.

"If the office still received any appeals from constituents afterwards, they were consistently handled through the administrative system rather than by any family member, relatives or any other single lawmaker," Wu said in the statement.

(By Li Shih-yi and Sofia Wu)