One councilor detained, another granted bail in embezzlement cases

Taipei,  Taipei City Councilor Pan Huai-tsung (潘懷宗) was granted bail, while New Taipei City Councilor Tseng Huan-chia (曾煥嘉) was detained for alleged embezzlement of public funding budgeted to pay for their assistants, by district courts in their respective cities on Wednesday.

The request for court permission to detain Pan of the New Party was filed by the Shilin District Prosecutors Office based on evidence suggesting that Pan and his office chief, surnamed Chen (陳), have claimed public funding for assistants’ salaries worth an estimated value of NT$3 million (US$107,046), using figurehead accounts.

Shilin prosecutors said they launched an investigation after receiving a report of allegations of fraud involving Pan and Chen from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau’s Taipei office last year.

After examining the evidence, prosecutors and investigators on Tuesday searched six locations relating to the case, where they seized several mobile phones and bank books as evidence and questioned seven suspects including Pan, as well as four witnesses.

After questioning, the prosecutors decided that Pan and Chen allegedly embezzled an estimated NT$3 million in public funds allocated to subsidize assistants’ salaries, using figurehead accounts between 2008 and 2020, in violation of the Anti-Corruption Act.

Shilin prosecutors then filed a request early Wednesday for the detention of the two on the grounds that they might collude with other suspects and witnesses or that they might destroy evidence.

After examining the case, the Shilin District Court denied the prosecutors’ request and allowed Pan and Chen to be released on bail of NT$2 million and NT$1.5 million, respectively.

Also Tuesday, the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office summoned Tseng of the main opposition Kuomintang and 21 others for questioning in an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of public funding subsidies for assistants’ salaries using falsified reports.

After questioning, prosecutors said Tseng is believed to have reaped approximately NT$1 million in illegal gains since 2013.

On Wednesday, the prosecutors filed a motion with the New Taipei District Court to detain Tseng and hold him incommunicado on the grounds that he might collude with accomplices and witnesses.

The court granted the prosecutor’s motion to detain Tseng, while the others were either released on bail or under their own recognizance, according to the district prosecutors office.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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