A Taiwan-based English newspaper reported that the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, the Republic of China’s independent government agency that is responsible for investigating and returning ill-gotten assets of political parties, has blocked the Chinese Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang Party (KMT), from selling a hotel it owns in Palau identified in the report as the Palasia Hotel.
According to the same report, KMT reportedly hoped to sell the Palasia Hotel Palau to raise funds for the November nine-in-one elections campaign, but the Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee had sent a member to Palau to block the sale as the property could be used in strengthening diplomatic relationship between Palau and Taiwan.
The report also stated that the hotel was built by the KMT through the Central Investment Co (中央投資公司), an affiliate of the KMT in November 2016 as identified by the committee.
Palasia Hotel Chairman of the Board Chen Shuh, in an interview with the Island Times on August 24 during Palasia’s 20th anniversary celebration, also mentioned about how the diplomatic relationship between Palau and Taiwan was established 20 years ago after the hotel was built.
“It is a very meaningful and beautiful day because it is our 20th anniversary. As you know, 20 years ago, when this hotel (Palasia Hotel) was built, the Republic of China and the Republic of Palau established the diplomatic relationship,” Chen said, when asked for a message about their 20th anniversary celebration.
The celebration was attended by Palau’s political figures and big names in the business industry.
According to the same report by the Taiwan newspaper, only 20% of the hotel’s share is held by Palauan investors.
The committee was also cited in the report in saying that the Palasia hotel is Taiwan’s prominent symbol in Palau and that “selling it would be a blow to the two countries’ relationship.”
The hotel was built during the former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) administration when former KMT treasurer Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) had reportedly invested around NT$2 billion of party funds for the construction of the hotel in the hopes that it will help establish diplomatic ties with Palau and boost its tourism.
Former KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫)reportedly advertised in November 2015 the sale of 800,000 shares in the hotel through a newspaper “which the Chinese multinational conglomerate Wanda Group expressed interest in purchasing for US$20 million.” However, KMT could not find a buyer that match its terms, according to the report.
KMT reportedly attempted twice since last year to apply to the committee to sell the hotel by citing different reasons, one of which followed after hotel’s assets were frozen and another, which was just last month, citing losses from reduced number of Chinese tourists visiting Palau. Both of the requests were rejected by the committee.
“The KMT then immediately applied to have access to a portion of its frozen assets, citing the need to renovate the hotel,” the Taipei Times report stated.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義)was also quoted in the report in saying, “It [Palasia] is being sold now because there is a need. [The sale] is legal, rational and reasonable, and should be allowed.” (Rhealyn C. Pojas)