Former Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) was sentenced to a combined six years in prison yesterday by the Taiwan High Court for withholding information related to the former first family’s alleged money laundering activities and a separate charge of leaking confidential information to a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker.
In the first case, the High Court found Yeh guilty of concealing a government file, for which he was given a prison sentence of three years and nine months. In the second case, he was convicted of leaking confidential information, for which he received two-and-a-half years in prison.
The file concealment conviction can be appealed, while the confidential information leakage conviction is final, which means he will be behind bars soon.
The court said the international anti-money laundering organization, the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, in January 2008 delivered a report to MJIB in which its Cayman Islands unit raised the suspicion that the family of then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was laundering money through an account created under the name of Chen’s daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), at a Merrill Lynch bank in Geneva, Switzerland.
Using this report, the MJIB’s Anti-Money Laundering Center on Jan. 29 of that year compiled a file intended for delivery to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
Yeh later requested that the file be handed over to him, saying he would pass it to then-prosecutor-general Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) in person. Instead of giving the file to Chen Tsung-ming, however, Yeh leaked its contents to the former president during a visit to the latter’s residence on Jan. 31 or Feb. 1.
In the second conviction, Yeh was found to have leaked a plan by prosecutors and investigators to raid the offices of DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in April 2008 in an investigation into Ker’s alleged involvement in an illegal mining operation in Hualien County.
Previously, a lower district court found Yeh guilty of graft in Chen Shui-bian’s case and sentenced him to eight-and-a-half years, plus an additional two-and-a-half years for Ker’s case. That court had decided to combine the two sentences to 10 years and deprive Yeh of his civil rights for an additional five years.
The High Court yesterday determined that Yeh should be convicted of concealing a government file, instead of graft, which carries a lighter sentence.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang