Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Chen Chih-chung testifies as witness

MUM'S THE WORD The former president’s son said several times that his mother Wu Shu-jen had told him how much money to transfer and to which bank accounts

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday came face to face with his son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) at Taipei District Court, with the latter saying he transferred money to his Swiss bank accounts at the request of his mother.

“I listened to my mother on all [transactions],” Chen Chih-chung told the court.

Yesterday was the first time that the father and son faced each other in court. Chen Chih-chung appeared yesterday as a witness.

When he entered the courtroom, Chen Chih-chung and his father looked at each other and the former president nodded toward his son.

Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) informed Chen Chih-chung of his right not to testify based on his relation to the former president. Chen Chih-chung replied that he understood his rights.

He was questioned about his family’s alleged money-laundering activities and gave detailed information on when and how overseas bank accounts were opened and fake companies established.

Chen Chih-chung said several times that his mother Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) had instructed him on how much money to transfer and to which accounts.

When Tsai asked Chen Chih-chung whether the overseas bankers knew that he was the son Taiwan’s president, he replied that bankers had checked his and his wife’s passports to verify their identities, but had not asked about their family background.

Tsai also asked about Chen Chih-chung’s return to the US on Dec. 15, 2006 — the day that his mother fainted in court.

Chen Chih-chung said he had not returned to the US to handle his overseas bank accounts, but to honor an appointment with a professor.

“After I rushed to the hospital to see my mother and found that she was okay, I traveled abroad as I had originally planned,” he said.

Chen Shui-bian did not make eye contact with his son during the two hours of questioning. He briefly exchanged whispers with one of his court-appointed attorneys.

Although the former president was entitled to ask the witness questions, he remained silent.

Since his last detention hearing on May 7, Chen Shui-bian has declined to speak in his defense or answer questions in protest of what he calls an unfair judicial system.

The former president will appear in court again today. A detention hearing has also been scheduled for tomorrow.

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