Former Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) was sentenced to 16 months in prison by the Taiwan High Court last week for concealing a government file.
A panel of three judges at the court on Thursday ruled that Yeh, while head of the bureau, turned over information on family members of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who had been laundering money overseas, to Chen, which allowed the former first family time to make other arrangements.
Yeh’s diversion of the file seriously undermined the credibility of judicial institutes and the image of the nation, the judges said.
However, considering that Yeh has shown deep remorse for his deeds, the judges said they decided to hand down a jail sentence of only 16 months. The ruling can still be appealed.
At the center of the money laundering case was a report delivered to the MJIB in January 2008 through international anti-money laundering organization the Egmont Group. In the report, the Cayman Islands’ financial intelligence unit raised the suspicion that the former first family was laundering money through an account created under the name of Chen’s daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), at the Merrill Lynch Bank in Geneva, Switzerland.
Based on the report, the bureau’s Anti-Money Laundering Center on Jan. 29, 2008, compiled a file intended for delivery to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
Yeh later requested that the file be handed over to him, saying that he would pass it to then-state public prosecutor-general Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) in person.
Yeh instead leaked its contents to Chen Shui-bian during a visit to the former president’s official residence.
Yeh was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Taipei District Court for mishandling money laundering intelligence, in addition to a separate case of alleged influence-peddling. The sentence was reduced to six years by the High Court.
In the latest conviction, the court found Yeh guilty of concealing a government file, for which he was given a prison term of three years and nine months, against which Yeh later appealed.
The conviction for confidential information leakage was final and Yeh was given a two-and-a-half-year prison term. Yeh began to serve his sentence in July last year and was released on Sept. 13 on parole.