Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Chen Shui-bian's ex-treasurer pleads guilty in graft trial


A treasurer to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday pleaded guilty to graft and money-laundering charges, while prosecutors named another high-profile businessperson as a defendant in a long-running corruption case implicating the former head of state.

Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧), who served as the former president's bookkeeper during his two terms in office from 2000 to last year, had already admitted committing forgery and perjury, but had denied involvement in the more serious offenses before a change of heart yesterday.

“I am guilty,” Chen Chen-hui told the Taipei District Court, but stressed that she was following the instruction of her superiors.

Her lawyer told reporters she changed her mind about her plea in hopes of reaching a plea bargain after two former presidential aides, also indicted in the case, attempted to pin the blame on her.

Ten people, including the former president's wife, son and daughter-in-law, have admitted their roles in the case.

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) last week admitted to money laundering and forgery, but denied embezzlement charges. Wu admitted wiring US$2.2 million abroad, but said the money was a political donation, not a bribe. She also said a businessman involved in a land deal wired US$5.88 million to her brother's bank accounts abroad.

But Wu said her husband had no knowledge of the wired funds.

Chen Shui-bian, who left office in May, has been detained on charges of embezzlement, taking bribes, money laundering, influence peddling and extortion.

Prosecutors yesterday named Diana Chen (陳敏薰), the former chairwoman of Taipei Financial Center Corp, as a defendant in the case. They alleged Diana Chen gave the former first couple NT$10 million, paving the way for her assumption of the chairwomanship of Taipei Financial Center.

Prosecutors said they would summon Diana Chen in the coming days for questioning.


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