The Taiwan High Court on Wednesday turned down a request by prosecutors to seize the assets of the family of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is in prison after being convicted of bribery.
Prosecutors had asked the court for permission to seize land, houses, term deposits and stocks owned by Chen, his wife and members of their immediate family.
The prosecutors said that the seizure of the family’s assets was part of the legal obligations linked to the conviction of the couple.
However, a High Court collegial panel ruled that the sum of more than NT$600 million (US$20 million) in overseas bank deposits that had already been confiscated by prosecutors was sufficient to pay back Chen’s illegal gains and therefore there was no need to seize his other assets in Taiwan.
Also, the panel said, some of the Chen family assets that the prosecutors were seeking to confiscate had already been listed in an earlier request in connection with a financial reform kickback case, which is still being handled by the court.
On Nov. 11, the Supreme Court sentenced the former president to 11 years in prison for taking bribes in a land deal during his time in office and also handed him an eight-year sentence in another bribery case.
The rulings were the first final convictions in a string of corruption cases against Chen and his wife.
The Taiwan High Court is authorized to determine whether the combined 19-year sentence should be served concurrently or consecutively.
After careful review, a collegial panel at the high court ruled that Chen’s total prison time should be 17-and-a-half years, a court spokesman said.