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Executives of United Microelectronics Corp., the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker, on Wednesday questioned the impartiality of prosecutors investigating its dealings with China and said they should bring charges or end the probe. In February, prosecutors raided the headquarters of UMC after they became suspicious the company had formed an illegal relationship with China-based He Jian Technology because of allegations funds and technology it provided the Chinese company were made without compensation. He Jian was founded by former UMC employees in November 2001, several months before Taiwan’s government relaxed a ban on semiconductor investments in China. Such investments still require formal Taiwanese approval. In front-page advertisements in major Taiwanese newspapers Wednesday, UMC executives said they welcomed the opportunity to prove their innocence in court, and alleged that prosecutors were pursuing them for political reasons. “Only with an open trial under the court system can we stamp out all of the speculation (against us),” the advertisement said. UMC has repeatedly denied any formal relationship with He Jian, saying only that it sometimes referred customers to the Chinese company. Company executives have hinted Taiwan’s independence-leaning leadership ordered the probe against them to discourage large-scale Taiwanese investment in China. Such investment now amounts to an estimated $100 billion, and some critics have charged that China is using the links to restrict the ruling Democratic Progressive Party from pushing forward with its independence-leaning platform. In its advertisement, the UMC executives said prosecutors had effectively committed “lynching” by depriving He Jian president Hsu Chien-hua of his right to return to work in China pending the end of the investigations. Hsu is a Taiwanese citizen. Prosecutor Tsai Tien-yuan denied the charges, saying Hsu will be needed in Taiwan to help with the investigation. He also denied there were any political motives in the probe. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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