Is the secret safe on an arms deal, murders, bribery and torture?

Taiwan’s Lafayette-class frigates from France that patrol the waters around the island nation are storied warships, and not because of naval engagements won, lost or survived. REPUBLIC OF CHINA NAVY PHOTO/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Taiwan’s Lafayette-class frigates from France that patrol the waters around the island nation are storied warships, and not because of naval engagements won, lost or survived. REPUBLIC OF CHINA NAVY PHOTO/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

At least nine people have died under mysterious or unexplained circumstances in what  International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe calls “one of the most sordid arms dealing, murder and bribery scandals in modern French and Taiwanese history.” An excerpt of his new column, Truth of Franco-Taiwanese bribery scandal dies with fugitive arms-broker:

The reported death in Britain of Andrew Wang at age 86 draws a line under one of the most sordid arms dealing, murder and bribery scandals in modern French and Taiwanese history. But the death of Wang, one of Taiwan’s 10 most wanted fugitives and the chief suspect in the murder at the heart of the scandal, means that key elements in the story may never be unravelled. And what a story it is.

It has the French arms manufacturer Thomson-CSF paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes through its agent Wang to get the Taiwan government to make a $2.8 billion deal to buy six of the company’s Lafayette class frigates. When the French foreign minister objected to the sale because it might harm relations with China, the arms company conscripted his mistress to change his mind, with great success.

Meanwhile, an honest Taiwan Navy captain, Yin Ching-feng, investigated the deal, visited the French shipyards and came home in September, 1993, with a damning report on the whole episode. He was about to blow the whistle when, on Dec. 9, he disappeared. On Dec. 10, Yin’s body was found floating in the sea off Su-ao Port, a naval base on Taiwan’s northeast coast. There was a hurried inquiry by the navy, which decided Yin had committed suicide. But the captain’s wife demanded another autopsy. This found Yin had been tortured before he died, and he had been killed by crushing blows to his head.That was when the story entered the public domain, where it has seethed and frothed ever since.

But it begins several years before Yin’s murder….   log in to continue reading Truth of Franco-Taiwanese bribery scandal dies with fugitive arms-broker (subscription required*)

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