Retired Lt. Gen. receives jail sentence for illegal political donations
Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Retired Lt. Gen. Luo Wen-shan (羅文山) from the Republic of China (ROC) Army was sentenced Tuesday to two years and six months in prison for accepting nearly NT$10 million (US$327,602) in political contributions and donations from Hong Kong between 2008 and 2012.
Taipei District Court handed down the jail term and stripped Luo of his civil rights for two years for violations of the Political Donations Act and embezzlement.
Luo used to be a member of the National Assembly and was an administrative deputy minister of national defense before becoming chairman of the Chinese Huangpu Four Seas Alliance Association, a registered political organization.
An investigation conducted by prosecutors found that Luo received about NT$10 million in political donations intended for the association in four remittances from Hong Kong in 2008, 2000 and 2012.
Three of the remittances were made by Hong Kong billionaire Hui Chi-ming (許智明), founder of Wisdom Group Co. Ltd. and the head of a number of companies, including Hoifu Energy Group Ltd.
Hui is also a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, according to the court's written judgment.
The purpose of the donations was shown on the remittance advice, but Lu did not put the money he received into the association's special account for political contributions and donations as stipulated by law, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors found that Luo deposited the four remittances into his own and his wife's fixed deposit accounts and then transferred three of them and interest earned on the deposits to the association's account. However, he did not do the same with the fourth remittance of NT$1 million and interest earned on the deposit account until 2013.
In light of these facts, Taipei District Prosecutors Office charged Luo with embezzlement and violating the Political Donations Act.
During the court hearing, Luo argued the money Hui remitted to him was a donation to the association and not a political donation, adding that it was intended to buy newspaper ads to support Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and pay the travel expenses of a delegation led by Hui to meet then President Ma and KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in Taiwan.
Luo said that Hui is a permanent member of the association and the money was donated as a "special membership fee" and was not a political donation.
After the hearing, the district court ruled that Luo serve one year and two months, 10 months, 10 months, and eight months in jail, for illegally accepting the four political donations, as well as a 10-month jail term for embezzlement, to be served concurrently.
The court also confiscated NT$8.385 million from the association and Luo's NT$13,110 in illegal gains.
Luo can still appeal the ruling.
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