7 May 2008

Taiwan money scandal in PNG complicated, says academic

8:33 pm on 7 May 2008

An academic says the money scandal that ended the career of one of Taiwan's leading politicians could have included money laundering.

Three Taiwanese ministers including the vice premier have resigned after 30 million US dollars meant as aid for PNG, have alledgedly embezzled the funds.

Despite standing down, each of the former ministers denies the misappropriation claims.

Papua New Guinean government officials deny any knowledge of the missing millions.

A political scientist at the Auckland University says it's unlikely that PNG would be interested in switching its loyalty to Taiwan, because its links with Beijing are becoming more extensive.

Dr Jian Yang says the matter appears to be more difficult.

"At the beginning it was thought that the government officials were simply cheated. But it appears that it's more complicated than that. It may involve, for example money laundering, it may involve government officials taking commissions from transferring money to other people."

Authorities allege two businessmen took the money.