Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Court rules out further seizure of Chen family assets

Staff Writer, with CNA

Former president Chen Shui-bian walks out of a police vehicle yesterday as he enters the Supreme Court to answer questions on corruption cases involving him and the former first family.

Photo: CNA

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Thursday from the prosecutors’ office to seize more property belonging to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his immediate family in connection with several corruption cases.

The court said that nearly all the money in Chen’s Swiss bank accounts, totaling NT$700 million (US$23.8 million), had been remitted back to Taiwan and that should be enough to cover the fines demanded by the special prosecutor.

Spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) said the court’s decision will not affect the seizure of property in connection with the two cases in which Chen has already been found guilty — involving a land deal and money for political favors.

Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), have been sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison in those two cases.

The special prosecutor had requested court approval to seize NT$48 million in fixed deposits, 37 shares with unknown value, two houses and seven lots of land in Taipei worth more than NT$200 million.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Chens owe the state NT$470 million, not the NT$980 million claimed by the special prosecutor. Given that about NT$700 million of the family’s overseas assets had been recovered, there was no need to make further seizures, it ruled.

Chen was transferred from a detention center on Dec. 2 to Taipei Prison in Taoyuan County, where he is now serving time.

Meanwhile, Wu was taken home from a prison hospital on Feb. 18, after Taichung Prison declined to admit her, saying that the wheelchair-bound Wu was not healthy enough to serve her sentence.

Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office has said in a statement that it will regularly send staff to Wu’s residence to determine whether her health has improved enough to enable her to begin serving her time behind bars.

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