Fri, Jun 11, 2010 - Page 3 News List

High Court to decide on modifying Chen’s corruption conviction

AP , TAIPEI

The High Court is to decide today whether to reverse or otherwise modify former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) conviction on corruption charges, the latest chapter in the former leader’s efforts to clear his name.

The Taipei District Court found Chen, 59, guilty in September last year of embezzling US$3.15 million from a special presidential fund, receiving at least US$9 million in bribes and laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts. He was sentenced to life in prison and is incarcerated at the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng (土城).

EXONERATED

On Wednesday, Chen was exonerated on charges that he siphoned off an additional US$330,000 in state funds during his presidency from 2000 to 2008, and sent them to his son in the US.

In its ruling today, the High Court can either uphold the lower court’s decision, reduce Chen’s sentence or exonerate him completely. It will also consider whether to extend Chen’s detention. Chen was first detained on Nov. 12, 2008, and released on Dec. 13, 2008, following his indictment. He was detained again on Dec. 30, 2008 and has remained in detention since.

Throughout the proceedings against him, Chen has steadfastly maintained his innocence, saying that he is the victim of efforts by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to punish him for his pro-independence views. Since replacing Chen two years ago, Ma has reversed his predecessor’s policies.

PARTISAN

Some critics have said that the legal process used against Chen was partisan and unfair. They pointed to the replacement of the three-judge panel that originally ordered him released on his own recognizance, the selective leaking of negative material on Chen to the press and a skit mocking the former leader mounted by Ministry of Justice officials, including one of the prosecutors investigating his case.

The ministry denies that Chen has been treated unfairly.

WU SHU-JEN

In addition to Chen himself, his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), has also been convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to life imprisonment, though she remains free.

Other members of his family and several former associates have also been convicted on corruption charges stemming from their association with Chen, and sentenced to prison terms.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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