《TAIPEI TIMES》 Ma silent on possible indictment over media sales

2018-01-04 03:00

JUDICIAL JUGGLING: Prosecutors have assigned someone to oversee an investigation into charges by Ma Ying-jeou that two prosecutors had leaked information on his case

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday morning declined to respond to reporters’ questions regarding a possible indictment for breach of confidence over his involvement in the sale of Central Motion Picture Co (CMPC, 中央電影公司), China Television Co (CTV, 中視) and Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC, 中廣公司).

The questions were prompted by the latest edition of the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine, which claimed that an anonymous source has “restored” the entirety of a recording between Ma and Yu Chien-hsin (余建新), who bought CTV.

Amendments to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) in 2005 barred political parties, the military and politicians from owning media outlets, prompting the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to sell the three firms, which it held via Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co (華夏投資公司).

Then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) and other DPP members accused the KMT and Ma, then KMT chairman, of selling the companies for less than they were worth.

The Special Investigation Division closed the case in 2014, citing inconclusive results, but the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office last year reopened the case, citing “unresolved questions.”

Ma’s denial of involvement was again brought into question after Mirror Media printed a report last month stating that the office was in possession of digital recordings of Ma presiding over meetings related to sales of the three companies.

The Mirror Media report said Ma backtracked on his initial decision to sell all three companies in one package and allegedly sold CTV to Yu while offering NT$480 million (US$16.2 million at the current exchange rate) in concessions.

A separate report by the magazine yesterday quoted Ma as saying to Yu: “We are taking back the three companies and selling them to others to raise funds.”

According to yesterday’s report, Yu told Ma that his bid for a second term was not certain and that he had played a pivotal role in helping the KMT dispose of the three companies.

“I asked a lot of people to chip in financially and you just want it back? You can take CMPC and BCC back, that is fine, but CTV is mine,” the report quoted Yu as saying.

Former KMT Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) has said that Yu’s NT$890 million bid was at least NT$310 million less than that of Paolyta Co (保力達), with which Tsai had an agreement to buy CTV for between NT$1.2 billion and NT$1.5 billion.

Ma’s office spokeswoman Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) said the former president followed the law and is an honest man, adding that the media should maintain their objectivity as the fourth estate.

Separately, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said that Taipei District Prosecutor Chang Yun-wei (張紜瑋) has been put in charge of an investigation against Chief Prosecutor Shing Tai-chao (邢泰釗) and head prosecutor Wang Hsin-chien (王鑫健), who Ma on Dec. 13 last year accused of leaking confidential information regarding an ongoing investigation.

Ma’s application for his case to be transferred to another jurisdiction, claiming that the Taipei office is no longer suitable to head the investigation due to alleged leaks, has been forwarded to prosecutor in charge Huang Yu-jen (黃育仁) and Chang, the office said, adding that whether the case is transferred hinges upon their findings.

Additional reporting by Chien Li-chung


Former president Ma Ying-jeou yesterday gives a speech on the origin of the so-called “1992 consensus” between Taiwan and China at Soochow University in Taipei.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

    Former president Ma Ying-jeou yesterday gives a speech on the origin of the so-called “1992 consensus” between Taiwan and China at Soochow University in Taipei. Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times