Sat, Apr 17, 2010 - Page 3 News List

High Court rules Chen to be held for two more months

By RICH CHANG  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA AND AFP

The Taiwan High Court yesterday ruled that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will be held in custody for another two months when his current detention order expires next Friday.

Presiding judge Teng Chen-chiu (鄧振球) said Chen might flee the country if he were released. He added that Chen should remain in custody as his family has yet to hand over NT$700 million (US$21 million) allegedly stashed away in Switzerland.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that the defendant or his family may take charge of the assets. The defendant is also seen as a flight risk,” the court said in a statement.

On April 2, the High Court gave an ultimatum to Chen’s relatives, saying that if the money is returned Chen would have a good chance of being released on bail.

Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), held a press conference on Friday last week and said his family had done everything they could to get the money in the Chen family’s Swiss bank accounts remitted to Taiwan and that it was up to the Special Investigation Panel to decide when the transfer would take place.

On Thursday, in a statement to the Central News Agency, Swiss judicial authorities said they would hand over the assets to Taiwanese authorities as soon as possible, but gave no timetable.

It was the first time the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) of Switzerland has commented publicly on the case.

“There is an excellent collaboration between the Taiwanese authorities and the OAG,” OAG spokeswoman Jeannette Balmer, wrote in the statement. “The objective target of this collaboration is the handover of the assets to the Taiwanese authorities as early as possible [ie practicable].”

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