The prosecutors in the cases against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said they would investigate several co-defendants and witnesses on suspicion of perjury or being accomplices in crimes linked to the former first family.
On Sept. 11, the Taipei District Court found Chen and his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) guilty of corruption, forgery, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes and sentenced them to life in prison and fines totaling NT$500 million (US$16 million).
When it handed down its judgment, the district court also asked the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to investigate several co-defendants and witnesses on suspicion of participation in additional crimes.
Among those listed, Chen’s son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), his daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and her husband Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) were named as possible accomplices in embezzlement by the former first couple. Judges suspect them for giving Wu receipts for their personal expenses, allegedly to collect reimbursements from the presidential “state affairs fund.”
District judges also requested an investigation into whether former deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成) and former Presidential Office director Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓) committed perjury when questioned about the state affairs fund.
Lin is also suspected of asking the former first family’s bookkeeper Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧) to give false testimony when put on the stand.
Ma and Lin were found guilty by the district court of helping the former first family embezzle money from public funds and were sentenced to 20 years and 16 years respectively. Their civil rights were suspended for 10 and eight years respectively.
In related news, a number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday criticized American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton after Stanton allegedly expressed concerns about the trial of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) claimed Stanton was trying to save the former president because Stanton had a “secret agreement” with Chen Shui-bian. Lo did not elaborate or present evidence to back her claim.
“Who are you, Stanton? Are you Taiwan’s leader or commander-in-chief? How can you interfere in Taiwan’s internal affairs?” Lo told reporters, adding that Chen Shui-bian’s trial was not Stanton’s concern.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) questioned the appropriateness of Stanton allegedly commenting on the case.
The legislators’ remarks came after Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) told reporters after Stanton’s visit on Wednesday that Stanton had said that “people overseas had some different thoughts” on Chen Shui-bian’s trial.
Wang said she told Stanton that the judiciary had been transparent, fair and just in handling Chen Shui-bian’s case. The judiciary is willing to talk to any US academics who have concerns, she said.
During the meeting, Wang also called on the US government to assist Taiwan with the return of 75 Taiwanese fugitives in the US.
KMT Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee accused Stanton of seeking to meddle in the judiciary.
“We need to have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs look into this and express our stance on the issue to the US,” Chang said.
At a separate setting yesterday, Wang said Stanton had not “interfered with” Chen Shui-bian’s trial.
“Stanton was saying that some foreign press and experts had different views [of the case],” Wang said when approached by reporters at the KMT headquarters.
“Stanton was only giving us a reminder and stating the truth. There is no interference,” she said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih and flora wang
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