The late Roger Lin left behind devoted followers, hostile critics, investigating police, and disgruntled supporters. The founder of Taiwan Civil Government died in November 2019 following a long battle with prostate cancer. Roger Lin also left behind what has become a fabled bank account in the United States.
Republic of China in-exile prosecutors obtained a bank freeze order in the United States after charging Lin and others with fraud in May 2018. Lin and his wife Julian, along with former political prisoner Tsai Tsai-yuan, are accused of deceiving supporters about the benefits of their TCG identity cards. Roger Lin died before the marathon trial with its repeated hearings has ended, however Julian and Tsai may face long prison terms.
Roger Lin’s death caused a split in Taiwan Civil Government with Tsai forming his own faction called TCG 3.0, dividing the membership. However, TCG had earlier fractured over allegations of financial mismanagement with Gavin Tsai leading a breakaway group called Taiwan Government. The rump group was overshadowed by the more powerful TCG. Gavin’s group attracted around 500 members, with most disgruntled over Roger Lin’s unquestioned control of TCG and its finances.
Gavin Tsai, after investing his life savings in Taiwan Government, is now trying to move his group to center stage in the battle to rid Taiwan of the exiled Republic of China. Gavin has been seeking advice and legal counsel on ways to crack Roger Lin’s frozen bank account. Although Gavin has stated that donors should be repaid he is hoping that there will be enough unaccounted for money to allow Taiwan Government to assume a central role in Taiwan’s future.
Tsai Tsai-yuan is also interested in Roger Lin’s bank account located in Washington. Tsai’s faction has been in negotiations with Neil Hare, TCG’s former lobbyist. Hare, an attorney, has told TCG 3.0 that he thinks they have a fifty-fifty chance of recovering the money. Tsai, who has cast himself as a reformer, can be expected to seek return of donations to donors. Tsai, a former Green Island political prisoner, scoffs at ROC prosecutors who say he cheated his supporters. One small problem, Hare wants a large retainer upfront with no guarantee of success.
Julian Lin, widow of the controversial TCG founder, believes she and her group, the original TCG, is entitled to reclaim the money. Julian wants to use the money to advance the TCG agenda of ridding Taiwan of the ROC. Julian entertained Washington attorney Charles Camp with a trip to Taiwan to discuss litigation. Camp represented both Roger and Julian Lin in two lawsuits against the United States over Taiwan status.
While the list of possible claimants to the frozen funds grows, ROC prosecutors are no doubt eyeing the money as ill-gotten gains and can be expected to seek confiscation of the account. Prosecution of Julian Lin and Tsai Tsai-yuan goes forward despite the fact they may lack the culpability of Roger Lin, if indeed false claims were made.
Tax collectors, both in the US and ROC, may also be looking at putting a lien on the account for past due taxes. Roger Lin has a history with unpaid taxes, costing a TCG foundation in Delaware its registration status.
The start-and-stop prosecution grinds on with an average of two hearings a month. After the better part of a year, prosecutors have wrapped up questioning of the first batch of witnesses and are now calling in a second group of witnesses, recruited by Cai Chaopeng, a disgruntled TCG title-holder, according to one courtroom insider.
Gavin Tsai, a former Prime Minister of TCG testified against Roger Lin in the fraud trial. Gavin testified Lin led personnel layouts, public financing, and the affairs of public administration in TCG. What Roger said was like an imperial edict to all the members of TCG. Gavin departed long enough ago to avoid being charged by the ROC in the case and thus could not provide the court with recent evidence of fraud.
Gavin testified that as a new bride, Julian attended roundtable meetings but not to take her hand in discussions. Since Tsai Tsai-yuan replaced Gavin as Prime Minister, Gavin had no damaging testimony against Tsai.
Gavin further testified that in early 2013, Roger said to the members that TCG will reform the foreign exchange rate make a change from 30 NT dollars to one US dollar with the exchange rate to become one to one. However, Lin’s claim was like a campaign promise rather than an assertion of fact.
Gavin stated that Roger Lin did tell a lie on April 27, 2017, after Gavin left TCG, that the United States will redeem two million US dollars to TCG members for human rights redemption payments.
As possible claimants emerge, one thing is becoming clear, a beneficiary of a multi-party court battle over the money will be the lawyers. Neil Hare, burned by Roger Lin on a defaulted million dollar lobbying contract, will not likely enter a courtroom without being paid up-front. Charles Camp does not appear to be looking for any Taiwanese pro bono work and can be expected to have a hefty fee request. Gavin Tsai, money gone, is hard pressed to hire Washington legal talent unless he can offer a lawyer a generous chunk of the winnings.
Gavin Tsai, educated in the United States at John Hopkins University, is pro-American and shares one vision with his former TCG colleagues, the expulsion of the Republic of China in-exile from Taiwan.