The son of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that up to 70 percent of the family’s money currently held in Swiss bank accounts would be repatriated to Taiwan within the next two weeks.
Taiwanese prosecutors have asked for the return of up to NT$700 million (US$21 million) that the Chen family has in Swiss bank accounts — money that the family says was acquired legally through securities and mutual funds transactions.
Chen’s family has asked Swiss banking authorities to send the money to a bank account designated by the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutors Office after a Taiwan High Court judge said the move could enhance the chances of the former president being released from detention.
The family’s lawyers said on Saturday that the Zurich-based RBS Coutts Bank had already completed the repatriation of US$1 million — after a written request from Chen Shui-bian’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中).
As for the remaining funds, Chen Chih-chung said most of the assets were invested in financial instruments in small denominations and that the bank needed time to convert them back into cash before they could be sent to Taiwan.
He added that if Chen Shui-bian were released on bail, it was likely that he would stay with the family in their Kaohsiung City apartment for the time being.
Chen Shui-bian was first detained at the Taipei Detention Center on Nov. 12, 2008, and released on Dec. 13, 2008, following his indictment. He was detained again on Dec. 30, 2008, after the Taipei District Court approved a request by prosecutors to take him back into custody. He has remained in detention since.
Chen Shui-bian was sentenced in September last year along with former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) to life in prison by the Taipei District Court, which found the pair guilty of embezzlement and taking bribes totaling NT$800 million.
The Taiwan High Court is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Chen Shui-bian’s second trial on July 11.
Chen Shui-bian’s lawyers have been pushing for his release on bail, saying the former president does not pose a flight risk — a move opposed by prosecutors.
On April 16 this year, High Court Judge Teng Chen-chiu (鄧振球) ruled that the former president should remain in custody for two more months until June 23.