Fri, Dec 05, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Yeh Sheng-mao sentenced to 10 years in prison

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced former Bureau of Investigation director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) to 10 years in prison for withholding information related to the former first family’s alleged money laundering activities and a separate charge of leaking confidential information.

In addition to a jail sentence, Yeh will be deprived of his civil rights for five years.

The court found Yeh guilty of corruption, concealing a government file and leaking confidential information, for which he received an eight-and-a-half year jail term.

In the second case, Yeh was convicted of leaking confidential information, for which he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years.

The two sentences were combined into a jail term of 10 years. The ruling can be appealed.

The court rejected an appeal for Yeh’s release, Taipei District Court spokesman Huang Chun-min (黃俊明) said, citing the severity of his crimes.

Judge Tseng Cheng-lung (曾正龍), who wrote the verdict, said Yeh’s current detention would expire on Jan. 5. He has 10 days to appeal and apply again for bail.

Tseng said it took three weeks to write the 62-page verdict.

Yeh was sentenced to 10 years because he did not show remorse, Tseng said.

“Up to our last hearing for the case, Yeh was still trying to defend himself by saying that he was merely doing his job as the bureau’s director-general,” Tseng said.

Yeh was indicted on Aug. 28 and detained on Oct. 6 for withholding information about the former first family’s alleged money laundering and leaking information to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

He was found guilty of leaking information to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in a separate case.

Yeh informed Ker in April of prosecutors’ raid plans in a case in which Ker was suspected of accepting kickbacks to lobby on behalf of RSEA Engineering Corp after a marble mine factory it operated in Hualien was accused of violating environmental regulations.

In addition to sentencing Yeh, the judges said they believed the evidence showed that Chen Shui-bian, Chen’s wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), their son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and his wife Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) and former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) were all involved in money laundering.

The details were to be handed over to the Supreme Prosecutor Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) for further investigation.

In addition, the director of the bureau’s Money Laundering Prevention Center, Chou You-yi (周有義) and agent Tso Chiu-chiang (鄒求強) may have faked official documents, judges said, adding that the case would also be forwarded.

In related news, SIP prosecutors talked to Taipei Financial Center Corp chairwoman Diana Chen (陳敏薰). yesterday. She arrived at the SIP office at 9:40am and left at 1:40pm.

Diana Chen declined to disclose the contents of her conversations with prosecutors.

Asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝), a member of the Judiciary, Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, called Yeh’s verdict “belated justice.”

Chu said Yeh’s “blind loyalty” to the former president had harmed the nation’s economic growth and international image.

KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said Yeh deserved the punishment.

“If Yeh had reported [information regarding Chen’s case] to the Ministry of Justice, the former president’s [alleged] corruption problem would not have become so serious,” she said.

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