Sun, May 01, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Court sends official and ex-wife to jail over shady divorce

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS:Despite having ended their marriage, Fu Kun-chi and Hsu Chen-wei lived next to each other and showed no change in their relationship

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Hualien District Court on Friday sentenced Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) and his ex-wife to six and four month prison terms respectively, and fined the two for engaging what it labled a false divorce to circumvent a law that bans the appointment of family members to political posts.

At Fu’s inauguration as county commissioner in December 2009, he appointed his ex-wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), who had divorced him only two days before, as his deputy commissioner. The appointment immediately drew the attention of many observers.

According to Hualien District Court Judge Chen Shih-po (陳世博), after the couple filed for divorce they remained neighbors in the same building and showed no outward change in their relationship at public events. Fu still referred to Hsu as his wife.

The purpose of the divorce was simply to circumvent the Public Officials Conflict of Interest Prevention Act (公職人員利益衝突迴避法), the judge said.

After hearing about the ruling, Fu said he was the first individual in the 100-year history of the Republic of China to be investigated by nearly every branch of government because of a divorce.

Despite the decision, Fu pledged he would not be beaten by “political persecution.”

Fu’s lawyer, Chien Tsan-hsien (簡燦賢), said the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, who must present evidence that the two knowingly lied about their feelings at the time of the divorce.

During the trial, the prosecutor was not able to provide such evidence, the defense lawyer said.

According to Chien, the verdict is based on events that occurred after the divorce was filed, so evidence from those events cannot possibly establish that they had lied at the time of the divorce.

The lawyer said he will meet with his clients to discuss whether they will file an appeal.

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