GIO investigates misappropriated festival funds

HONG KONG — Taiwan’s Government Information Office (GIO), the local media regulator, is probing allegations that an exec has misappropriated NT$700,000 ($21,000) meant for publicity and advertising for the prestigious Golden Horse film awards.

Liao Chih-te, chairman of the awards’ chief organizer, the Republic of China Motion Picture Development Foundation, has denied the allegations, insisting that he was reimbursed for money he had paid out of his own pocket. Nevertheless, he later confirmed that he had returned the money to the foundation following a board meeting.

A GIO spokesman declined to comment on the probe but confirmed that it has not ruled out “manpower reorganization.”

The GIO is an executive director of the foundation, and provides $455,000 towards the Golden Horse’s annual $940,000 budget.

This allegation is the latest directed at the Golden Horse Awards. In December, members of the jury called for a review of the awards selection after local favorite “Cape No.7″ was shut out of the major prizes.

The award’s 27-strong selection panel was singled out as unrepresentative of the Greater Asian region, for a ceremony that is largely seen as the Oscar-equivalent of the Chinese-language film world.

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