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MND confident of getting Lafayette money withheld by France

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/31 23:57:58

By Justin Su and Sofia Wu

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will be able to claim the remaining portion of damages awarded to Taiwan in the scandal-plagued Lafayette warship deal, an official said Monday.

The remaining 2.2 million euros has been withheld by France over a contract dispute between the ministry and a Singaporean firm.

"The French authority has ordered a provisional attachment on the money in accordance with the law and once a decision is made on the case brought up by the Singaporean company, the money will be returned to us," said Liu Fu-lung, director of the Armaments Bureau under the Ministry of National Defense.

His remarks came after the United Daily News reported the same day that France has withheld 2.2 million euros (US$3.33 million) on the grounds that Taiwan's Armaments Bureau has a contract dispute with a Singaporean technology company.

Based on a ruling handed down by a Singaporean court, the company asked the French authority to withhold that mount from its payment of a court-ordered fine of 630 million euros to Taiwan's Armaments Bureau for irregularities in the sale of six Lafayette-class frigates to Taiwan in the 1990s, the daily reported.

Commenting on the report, Liu said the Singapore firm won a bid in 1996 to build an underground range for a military factory, but the two sides canceled the deal in 1998 after the Singaporean firm failed to secure an export permit.

The military then seized the company's deposits. The Singaporean firm filed a suit with a Singaporean court to block the deposit payment. The MND declined to attend any court hearing because as a buyer, the MND insisted that the case should be arbitrated in Taiwan.

The Singaporean firm had applied to seize the MND's assets in the United States, Britain, Belgium and Cayman Islands, but all of those suits have been rejected, Liu said.

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