Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has for the first time admitted that he used other people's receipts as his own to write off official expenses, and that his family accepted coupons from a local businessman to shop at the Sogo department store, according to Taiwan media reports.
Chen made the admission in Palau on Tuesday, but insisted he has never been involved in illegal activities.
Palau, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of few foreign countries with diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Further, because certain activities could not be conducted via Taiwan's "foreign affairs authorities", he used special diplomatic funds to facilitate them, relying on receipts he had collected from other people to write off the expenses.
Chen made the admission after having been badgered by journalists. He insisted that all the money was used for public purposes and none of the reimbursements went into his own pocket.
Chen declined to say if he would step down as leader as a result of this.
Earlier this year, local procurators discovered a large number of receipts and Sogo shopping coupons.
In April, Chen's office declared that Chen would step down if he were found guilty of financial malpractices.
Meanwhile, the local media and Taiwan people have urged Chen to step down, several local newspapers describing him as a "rascal".
(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2006)