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US court allows Taiwan to seek funds in Papua New Guinea scandal: Reports

US court allows Taiwan to seek funds in Papua New Guinea scandal: Reports

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Los Angeles High Court has rules that Taiwan’s government can seek the recovery of funds allegedly embezzled by diplomatic brokers in a 2008 scandal over relations with Papua New Guinea, reports said Saturday.
The case broke during the final months of the administration of President Chen Shui-bian when it became known that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had paid US$29.8 million (NT$1 billion) to two middlemen to persuade Papua New Guinea to switch official relations from China to Taiwan.
When the diplomatic switch failed to occur, MOFA asked for its money back but the two brokers, Ching Chi Ju and Wu Szu-tsai, refused. Wu was jailed in Taiwan for forgery, false accusations and breach of trust, but Ching reportedly escaped to the United States.
The Los Angeles High Court recently ruled that an earlier verdict by a court in Singapore sentencing Ching to return the missing funds to Taiwan was valid, reports said Saturday. The new ruling means that the Taiwan government can move ahead and try to recover the money from Ching.
The former broker reportedly split up the US$29.8 million and divided it among his children. He used the money to buy two plots of land in California through a company and then passed official ownership of the land to his relatives. The civil suit brought by Taiwan at the High Court claims there was an obvious connection between the timing of the land transactions and the court ruling in Singapore.
Taiwan also wanted the court to ban further sales and purchases of the land in other to prevent Ching and his family from evading the verdict, reports said.
The LA ruling means the Taiwanese authorities will have a legal way to trace the money flow and demand the return of the missing funds.


Updated : 2021-04-11 18:45 GMT+08:00