Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Chen’s office calls for probe of SIP

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The office of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday asked the Ministry of Justice and State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) to investigate whether the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) concealed evidence and abused its powers in detaining the former president and, if so, to mete out appropriate punishment.

In a statement, the office said that rather than Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), refusing to wire back the money — as claimed by prosecutors — the SIP had asked Swiss authorities to freeze his bank account.

Providing the Chinese translation of three documents issued by Swiss prosecutors regarding the NT$570 million (US$17.77 million) held in the Swiss account, the office said that on Friday Chen Chih-chung had handed them seven pages of three French-language documents issued by the Swiss prosecutors who froze his account in Switzerland.

The Chinese translation of the first document showed that prosecutors agreed to a request by Taiwanese judicial authorities for judicial assistance in the former president’s case concerning the NT$570 million deposited under the name Avallo Ltd at Wegelin & Co Private Bankers and to freeze the account.

The document also showed that the safety boxes rented and properties owned by Chen Chih-chung, his wife Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), the former president, former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), her brother Wu Ching-mao (吳景茂) and her friend Tu Li-ping (杜麗萍), a Yuanta Securities board director, were frozen.

The second document showed that Swiss prosecutors informed Chen Chih-chung’s bank that his account had been frozen after he requested that the bank wire the money back to an account assigned by the Taiwan High Court.

The third document, issued by Swiss prosecutors to Chen Chih-chung’s bank, requested that information related to the frozen account be provided by Feb. 13 at the latest.

The statement said that while Swiss prosecutors informed the SIP of the frozen account on Dec. 12, it continued to ask that the district court detain the former president under the pretext that the money had yet to be transferred to Taiwan.

The office said they suspected the SIP had not only violated the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), but also abused its power of detention and hid evidence.

The former president and his wife were sentenced to life in prison for corruption on Sept. 11.

The court found Chen and his wife guilty of embezzlement and taking bribes totaling NT$800 million, some of which was allegedly laundered overseas through Swiss bank accounts and paper companies.

In the money laundering case, Chen Chih-chung was sentenced to two years and six months and fined NT$150 million for helping his parents wire money to overseas bank accounts. Huang was sentenced to one year and eight months and fined NT$150 million on money laundering charges.

All said they would appeal.

Wu Ching-mao and his wife, Chen Chun-ying (陳俊英), who pleaded guilty to helping the former first lady launder money through overseas accounts, were each sentenced to two years in prison, five year’s probation and fines of NT$3 million.

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