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Taiwan to continue to pursue arms broker's illicit gains

2015/02/11 14:19:59

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) A special investigation unit said Wednesday that the death of a Taiwanese arms broker who took kickbacks in Taiwan's procurement of Lafayette-class frigates from France in 1991 will not affect efforts to retrieve his illicit gains.

The Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office said it will continue to request Swiss judicial authorities to remit Andrew Wang's (汪傳浦) illicit gains of US$300 million frozen in Swiss banks back to Taiwan.

Wang died in London on Jan. 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed earlier Wednesday.

Prosecutors will now drop their case against Wang, but they will continue to pursue Wang's wife and his four children in connection with money laundering activities and continue to include them on Taiwan's wanted list.

The corruption and bribery case stems from a 1991 deal in which Taiwan's Navy bought six Lafayette-class frigates from French Thomson-CSF, since renamed Thales S.A., for an inflated price of US$2.8 billion.

The price included kickbacks and bribes that facilitated the purchase.

Swiss authorities have frozen about US$700 million in bank accounts belonging to Wang and former Navy captain Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆), another key player in the case, since 2001 at the request of Taiwanese judicial authorities.

Some of it has been remitted back to Taiwan but Swiss authorities insisted on bringing a pending legal case to a conclusion before considering unfreezing Wang's illicit gains.

That happened in April 2014 when Taiwan's Supreme Court issued a final ruling in a case in which Kuo and Wang were co-defendants, and demanded that Kuo and Wang return US$340 million in illicit gains frozen in foreign bank accounts.

(By Liu Shih-yi and Lilian Wu)
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Related:
●Feb. 11: Central player in Lafayette scandal confirmed dead