Taiwan probes senior official who deals with China over bribery suspicions

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan prosecutors said on Saturday they were investigating a senior official and member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who deals with China on suspicion of bribery. He said he had done nothing wrong.

Cheng Wen-tsan is head of the Straits Exchange Foundation under the China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council that deals with day-to-day issues like accidents involving Taiwanese in China. The foundation is technically private because the governments in Beijing and Taipei do not recognise each other or have any official relations.

Prosecutors in the northern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan, where Cheng was mayor from 2014–2022, said he had been summoned for questioning on Friday on bribery suspicions and that they had applied to a court to detain him.

It did not give details of the allegations against him.

Cheng, in a statement issued via his lawyer and released by the foundation, denied wrongdoing.

"I have not committed any illegal acts, and I will cooperate with the judicial investigation. I hope to clarify the truth and prove my innocence as soon as possible," he said.

Taiwan's presidential office said it respects the judiciary and hopes investigators will clarify the matter as soon as possible.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by William Mallard)