Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was indicted on a money laundering charge yesterday, less than three weeks after being released on medical parole from prison, where he was serving a lengthy sentence for corruption.
In its indictment, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleged that after Chen Shui-bian took a bribe of NT$10 million (US$318,000) from former Taipei Financial Center Corp chairwoman Diana Chen (陳敏薰) to help her secure an appointment at a securities firm, the president was involved in laundering the money.
Chen Shui-bian was found guilty of taking the bribe by the Supreme Court in November 2010 and was sentenced to eight years in prison. His wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), was given a similar penalty for the same offense.
Wu was then found guilty of laundering the bribe through her brother and was sentenced to 14 months in jail, later reduced to seven months.
Because of Wu’s role in laundering the money, the judge in charge of her case suspected Chen Shui-bian was also involved, and sent the case to prosecutors for further investigation.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has since questioned Chen Shui-bian about the allegations and asked the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office to further question Wu.
The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office subpoenaed Wu twice, but the wheelchair-bound former first lady did not show up either time because of poor health.
Taipei prosecutors said they had solid evidence proving the former president’s involvement in the case, but as of yesterday afternoon, they had not released the indictment or provided a summary outlining the evidence backing their case.
Chen Shui-bian is also still facing legal proceedings related to a reform program to consolidate the financial sector initiated during his first term as president from 2000 to 2004.
Several bankers allegedly bribed the former first family in exchange for Chen Shui-bian’s help in acquiring other banks.
The former president has already been sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison and fined NT$250 million in a series of corruption cases that surfaced shortly after his second term ended in May 2008.
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