Sat, Dec 06, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Chen’s office denies son made secret trips to Japan

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH STAFF WRITER

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) office yesterday denied allegations that Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), had visited Japan 13 times to help the former president launder money.

“Claims made by some media reports that Chen Chih-chung had engaged in money-laundering activities in Japan were all fabricated,” the statement said.

The office issued the press release in response to reports by local media outlets, including the Chinese-language Apple Daily, that Chen Chih-chung had secretly visited Japan 13 since 2000 to help his father with money-laundering activities. Dismissing the allegations, the office said Chen Chih-chung had visited Japan only four times since 2000. He had toured Tokyo twice in 2003 and spent holidays with his family in Japan in June and October of 2004, the office said.

When Chen Chih-chung accompanied former first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) to Japan in 2004, Taiwanese doctor Kao Ching-che (高欽澤) received them as guests. Some media outlets suggested that Kao had helped the former first family launder money in Japan.

“We hope the public would not spread false information and damage innocent people’s reputations,” the statement said.

The statement further condemned the Taipei District Court for disclosing confidential information in Chen Shui-bian’s case when it announced a 10-year prison sentence for former Bureau of Investigation director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) to 10 years in prison on Thursday.

“The court ignored the principle of never discussing a case that is still under investigation and disclosed the details in the case,” the statement said, urging the Control Yuan to look into the matter.

The statement also accused the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of abusing its power by leaking information to the court, and urged the Ministry of Justice to look into the prosecutors’ responsibilities.

The court sentenced Yen to 10 years in prison on Thursday for withholding information related to the former first family’s alleged money-laundering activities and a separate charge of leaking confidential information. In the ruling, it said that former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) allowed Chen Shui-bian to wire a total of US$1.91 million to four of his foreign bank accounts in Hong Kong on Feb. 22. The ruling asked that Wu be handed over to the SIP for further investigation.

Wu, accompanied by a number of DPP lawmakers, denied any role in the alleged money-laundering case and told a press conference yesterday that Chen Shui-bian told him the money was from donations and would be used for secret diplomatic work.

Wu, a senior Taiwanese independence figure, said at the time he was moved and touched to hear such a large amount of money would be used for Taiwan’s benefit.

“I’ve hated corruption all my life,” Wu said. “If Chen Shui-bian or his wife had ever asked me to launder money, I would have slapped their faces on the spot.”

Wu said he would return the money to the government if it was found to be “dirty.”

“If the money is found to be clean, I will do what I was entrusted to do with it,” he said.

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