Taipei, Former President Ma Ying-jeou (???), who has been indicted for breach of trust, took his case to the main opposition Kuomintang's (KMT's) Central Standing Committee Wednesday, reiterating his innocence and accusing the prosecutors of executing a "political" scheme against him.
Ma was indicted July 10 by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office for breach of trust and violating the Securities and Exchange Act in his role as KMT chairman in the disposal of party assets.
Also indicted were Chang Che-chen (???) and Wang Hai-ching (???), who were in charge of the KMT's finances at the time.
Chang served as chairman of the KMT-owned Central Investment Corp., while Wang was general manager of the company, the first investment company founded by the political party in 1971.
The prosecutors office said the indictment covers the KMT's disposal of Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co. in December 2005, China Television between February and December 2006, and the old KMT headquarters building in Taipei in March 2006.
The charges are also related to the party's sale of Central Motion Picture Co. in April 2006 and the Broadcasting Corp. of China (BCC) in December 2006.
Local media have termed the case "the 3Cs assets issue" -- referring to the assets of China TV, BCC and Central Motion Picture.
The district prosecutors accuse Wang and Chang of using an elaborate eight-step financial scheme that Ma approved to enable the sale of KMT media companies and other assets for less than their publicly stated value, leading the party to suffer losses of NT$7.3 billion (US$238.24 million).
Ma told the KMT top brass that beginning in November 2006, when the country was under the rule of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), five prosecutors called in nearly 100 people for questioning in a thorough investigation that lasted eight years.
The five prosecutors' conclusion was that there was "a lack of evidence" against him, as they found no truth in the allegations that the KMT was selling its assets at lower-than-market prices, and they declared the case closed in July 2014, Ma said.
And yet, 13 years after the DPP government launched its investigation into the "3Cs" allegations and four years after the investigators announced an end to the unsubstantiated charges, the Taipei district prosecutors now say that the party he led violated a law that was only enacted in 2016 -- after the DPP regained power.
Ma said he is now charged with having sold "quasi-state properties that in the future should be returned to the state" under the Act Governing the Settlement of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and their Affiliated Organizations."
"Isn't this shocking?" Ma asked, adding: "Do they mean that 13 years ago I should have envisioned a law on settling 'ill-gotten properties' -- a law that in fact is unconstitutional?"
Ma stressed that all of his decisions on disposing of the party's assets had been approved by the party's Central Standing Committee, which in January this year reaffirmed that the party's interests have not been compromised in the deals to sell the assets in question.
And yet, Ma said, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office chose to ignore all these stark facts and went on to indict him and other former KMT officials. "You can easily guess their (the prosecutors') motivations," he said.
"I'm not a belligerent man. However, in the face of a legal fight that is politically motivated, I will fight back with all my might," Ma said.
He said he is still confident in the impartiality of Taiwan's judicial system and expects the court to hand down a fair judgment on his case.
"When the court hears my case, when all evidence must be made public, I will be proven innocent," said Ma.
A court trial is also what the ruling DPP is expecting, as its spokesman Ho Meng-hua (???) urged Ma to candidly face trial, while denying that his party has anything to do with the legal case.
"It was brought up by lawyer Wang Ko-fu (???) and others. The DPP and the ruling team have nothing to do with it," Ho added.
The KMT has denounced the 700-page indictment as "a surprise raid" and called the prosecutors "political hitmen" who have brought shame on judicial independence and the justice system.
Ma office spokeswoman Hsu Chiao-hsin (???) said it was "not surprising" that Ma was indicted, but she said she felt angry that the district prosecutors' office was so willing to serve as a "hired political hitman" for the government of President Tsai Ing-wen (???).
Chief Prosecutor Chen Chia-hsiu (???) denied any political interference, saying that the office knew the case would be politically charged and carefully reviewed the evidence collected during the investigation on a weekly basis.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel