Prosecutors yesterday said they might start a plea negotiation with Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), the son and daughter-in-law of detained former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), if they see more than NT$1 billion (US$30 million) in the couple’s foreign accounts return to Taiwan.
Chen Chih-chung’s attorney, Yeh Ta-hui (葉大慧), told reporters that Chen Chih-chung last week had asked Swiss banks to wire a total of more than NT$1 billion back to a Taiwanese account assigned by prosecutors as a temporary deposit account to hold the money.
Yeh said that Chen Chih-chung and Huang have told judges and prosecutors they would like to enter plea negotiations with the prosecution and they said arranging for the money to be wired to the Taiwanese account was to show their sincerity.
Spokesman for the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Investigation Panel, Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南), said yesterday that prosecutors might agree to a plea negotiation with the couple when they see the money recovered.
Chen Chih-chung and Huang were indicted for money laundering for allegedly moving money overseas. Prosecutors accused Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) of siphoning off NT$104 million (US$3.1 million) from a special Presidential Office discretionary fund during Chen Shui-bian’s presidency from 2000 to last May. They are also accused of accepting bribes in connection with a land procurement deal, as well as US$2.73 million in kickbacks to help a contractor win the tender for a government construction project.
Chen Shui-bian has denied the accusations, but has admitted sending the money overseas, saying it was leftover campaign contributions.
Chen Chih-chung said previously that Wu Shu-jen would donate all the money to charity if investigations proved the money was clean.
Meanwhile, the Taipei District Court said yesterday that security and emergency arrangements were in place for Wu’s planned court hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wu was rushed to hospital after she nearly collapsed from low blood pressure during her first hearing in a corruption trial in December 2006. After the incident, Wu missed her court hearings 17 times, citing illness.
Wu’s attorney said Wu would appear at Tuesday and Wednesday’s hearings accompanied by Chen Chih-chung.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA