Kung Chin Yuan, a long-standing friend of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, flew Mr Rudd to London for two weeks in June and July of 2005 when Mr Rudd was Labor's shadow foreign minister.The secret fund is what the prosecutors are accusing Chen of stealing. If Chen stole it, where did this money come from? Another charge against Chen is that they falsified receipts. Do you think that the Australian Labor Party gave receipts for the secret fund for the two donations? And do you think Kevin Rudd gave a proper receipt for his business class trip to London? In any case, as I have noted numerous times, the whole receipt thing was an obvious set up, since the rules were changed in '02 and no previous president had to give receipts for expenditures from the secret fund. Only Chen Shui-bian had to give receipts.
The sponsorship of Mr Rudd came at a time when Taiwan was making efforts to boost its influence with Australia and other countries in the region.
Mr Kung, who is based in Brisbane, has been linked to a secret fund that helped bankroll unofficial Taiwanese diplomatic operations in Australia and the South Pacific.
At the time of Mr Rudd's trip, there was concern in Taiwan about contacts between senior Labor figures and mainland Chinese business interests. There was also concern about "pro-Beijing" comments made by Mr Rudd in mid-2004.
The Prime Minister's office has declined to answer questions about how long Mr Rudd has known Mr Kung, why he accepted the sponsored trip, who he met in London and whether Mr Kung had contributed to his fund-raising efforts. "Mr Rudd's interactions with Mr Kung have been entirely appropriate," a spokesman said.
Australian Electoral Commission records also show Mr Kung donated $120,000 to the Queensland ALP branch between 1998 and 2006.
In 2007-08, when Mr Rudd led Labor to power, Mr Kung contributed a further $100,000 to the federal ALP using the name Lawrence Kung.
The secret fund to which Mr Kung has been linked was, according to former president Chen, used to support Taiwan's efforts to secure diplomatic recognition in the South Pacific and gain influence in Australia.
Last year I observed that it is rumored that one of the reasons the KMT is so interested in peering into Chen's funding flows is that Beijing wants to know where Taiwan's money is going. Take that, Beijing.
Let's see... a KMT legislator claims that Chen gave the money to Kung to invest in Chinese real estate. That legislator was Lee Ching-hua, brother of Diane Lee, the legislator with the US citizenship. The Taipei Times reported on this in 2006...
In 2006, a senior politician from the then Taiwanese opposition KMT party told a parliamentary committee that the Queensland-based Mr Kung had received $US625,000 ($A764,000) from Chen's special fund.
The KMT politician alleged the money sent to Mr Kung was used on Mr Chen's behalf to invest in Chinese real estate, not to carry out secret diplomatic work. But Mr Chen rejected the claim, insisting the fund was used to pay for secret diplomatic missions.
His denials were not enough to deter government prosecutors who have since 2006 pursued Mr Chen, his wife and aides over the alleged embezzlement of funds from the secret diplomatic account.
In his initial interviews with prosecutors, Mr Kung refused to disclose the identities of the "secret agents" receiving money from the fund for fear their lives would be at risk.
Taiwanese newspapers say Mr Chen later told prosecutors Mr Kung had received money to undertake secret diplomatic work at his request.
Mr Kung, who owns an exclusive property on Brisbane's riverfront and is a member of the Queensland branch of the Taiwan Australia Business Council, could not be contacted for comment. He has previously denied receiving money from Mr Chen's fund.
Mr Kung has reportedly refused six summonses from prosecutors to return to Taiwan to testify in Mr Chen's case. Instead, he has faxed a statement in which he said he had never received money from the fund for secret diplomatic work.
Taiwan prosecutors have obtained invoices that allegedly bore Mr Kung's name and were used by Mr Chen's family to claim money from the presidential fund.
Lee Ching-hua said he'd resign if he was wrong. Yeah, right. Needless to say, Lee's anonymously sourced claim has been shown to be fiction. The money was spent where Kung said it was spent.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) told the legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday morning that a reliable source told him that the president had wired NT$20 million (US$625,000) to China-based businessman Kung Chin-yuan (龔金源).
The legislator claimed that the money came from President Chen's special allowance fund and was actually used to invest in real estate in China.
The donations to Labor came at a time when Australia was following the shortsighted policy of opposing the dollar diplomacy between Taiwan and China in the South Pacific. Now that Taiwan has essentially halted its diplomatic programs, China is consolidating its position in the South Pacific island states. And everyone knows that Chinese money is not corrupting, and China always supports clean, democratic politics in the states in moves close to.
The reality is that Taipei was suppressing Chinese influence in the Pacific at no cost to Australia itself. Stupid.
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