Thu, May 03, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Chen still owes NT$290m, prosecutors say

Staff writer, with CNA

Jailed former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his wife still owe about NT$290 million (US$9.9 million) in fines after paying NT$17.3 million in penalties for their roles in a shady land deal, prosecutors said.

Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), were handed NT$300 million in fines and were sentenced to 11 years in prison after being convicted by the Supreme Court in November 2010 of graft in a land deal in Longtan Township (龍潭), Taoyuan County. With interest, the total amount of the fines has reached NT$308 million and the two still owe NT$290 million in unpaid money, said Huang Mo-hsin (黃謀信), a spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an earlier decision by the Taiwan High Court rejecting an appeal by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID), which wants to seize some of the Chen family’s assets for their roles in another bribery case. The court said the assets sought by the SID included savings, securities holdings and land, which overlapped assets the SID had applied to confiscate in the Longtan land deal case.

Under the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) and the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法), the court can decide whether to seize the property of a defendant if the property is determined to have been gained through criminal acts.

In response, SID spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) said the application to seize the assets should be dealt with separately. The fact that the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was in possession of some of the Chen family’s assets following the Longtan case does not guarantee that the family would pay their fines in the bribery case, which is still ongoing, he spokesman said.

The SID would decide how to respond to the Supreme Court decision after it formally receives the ruling from the court, he added.

The former president is serving a combined jail term of 17-and-a-half years for corruption, but he still faces legal proceedings related to irregularities that occurred in a financial reform initiative during which several business leaders allegedly bribed the former first family in exchange for influence to help them acquire shares in publicly owned banks.

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