Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Lu wants Chen Shui-bian to apologize

A FRIEND IN NEED? The former president’s office said he would respond to the remarks after consulting his aides after failing to make a public appearance yesterday

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former vice president Annette Lu speaks yesterday at a public discussion with author Li Ang about new challenges for the modern woman. Lu also took the opportunity to comment on the investigation against former president Chen Shui-bian.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family to offer a public apology for the damage they’ve done to the nation.

“What the former first family members have done has harmed Taiwan and hurt their supporters,” Lu said yesterday after attending a forum in Taipei.

“I urge you [Chen] and your family members to be courageous and apologize to the public. I hope you will face the judiciary seriously and honestly,” she said.

The former president was indicted on Friday on charges of embezzling government funds, money laundering and forgery, along with 13 others, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law.

Prosecutors say Chen and his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), embezzled about US$3 million in public funds and, along with two others, accepted a bribe of about US$12 million on a land deal.

Their son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), along with 10 others, were indicted for corruption and money laundering in connection with the case.

The former president was later released from detention early on Saturday morning after being detained for 32 days.

Lu had lauded the court for releasing the former president and condemned prosecutors for adopting double standards in special allowance fund cases with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was found not guilty in his mayoral allowance fee case.

The former vice president, however, changed her supportive tone yesterday in urging the former president to offer an apology.

In response, the former president’s office said Chen Shui-bian will respond to Lu’s remarks after consulting his aides.

The former president did not make a public appearance yesterday.

Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly denied all the charges, saying he is the victim of political persecution.

The indictment charged Chen Shui-bian and his wife with illegally receiving or embezzling NT$490 million (US$14.7 million), some of which was sent overseas.

Of that total, the indictment read, NT$104.15 million was embezzled from the “state affairs” fund during his eight years in office from 2000 until earlier this year.

Prosecutors charge that more than NT$27 million of that was obtained by using inappropriate receipts to claim reimbursements from the fund — nearly double the NT$14.8 million Wu was originally indicted for in 2006.

The balance, or more than NT$76 million, was claimed by former Presidential Office treasurer Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧) as “secret funds” from the state affairs fund and handed over to Wu Shu-jen to pay for the family’s living expenses and other uses, the indictment alleges.

The former first family allegedly received another NT$100 million and US$6 million in kickbacks from a total payoff of US$11.98 million by a development company called “Dayu” to pave the way for the Hsinchu Science Park by purchasing a plot of land in Taoyuan County from Dayu at a price prosecutors believe was unreasonably high.

The balance of the bribe money was pocketed by James Lee (李界木), then-chief of the Hsinchu Science Park, and a friend of the former first family, Tsai Ming-che (蔡銘哲), who transferred the alleged kickback to accounts held by former first family members, prosecutors charged.

The indictment accuses the former first family of collecting another US$2.73 million in bribes from contractor Kuo Chuan-ching (郭銓慶) to help him win a tender to build the Nangang Exhibition Hall between 2002 and 2003.

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