Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was yesterday sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Taiwan High Court for taking bribes in relation to a series of bank mergers during his eight years in power, fined NT$180 million (US$5.95 million) and stripped of his civil rights for nine years.TT reported today that his son is also appealing this decision. One observer remarked that the decision appears too early to affect the election. It will be more difficult to make an issue of Chen this time around; the KMT silenced him in detention -- had they let him speak, he might have caused chaos in the DPP and seriously impeded the party's recovery. No doubt the KMT will do what it can to use Chen to rally the base, but his case has receded into conventional wisdom, old and neutered.
His wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), was sentenced to 11 years and fined NT$102 million in the same case and stripped of her civil rights for eight years.
The ruling overturned a ruling in November last year by the Taipei District Court, which cleared the former president and his wife of all charges over merger approvals during the second phase of his administration’s financial reforms, based on a lack of evidence that they received bribes from financial holding companies to ensure the mergers went in their favor. Chen and Wu’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), and daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚), were also acquitted in that ruling.
Meanwhile Jeffry Koo, who testified that he bribed Chen in connection with a land case was allowed to leave the country on a huge bail even though he is a known flight risk. Chen was detained, ostensibly for being a flight risk. The Koos later repudiated this testimony in court. I have not heard anything about how that has affected the case.
If the verdict is the result of political interference, it has been well handled. The lower court decision gives the process a veneer of impartiality, while the higher court returns the desired decision. But bear in mind that every judge involved in Chen family cases knows that a previous judge was removed for ruling the "wrong" way.
- Brahma Chelleny on China: the Water Hegemon.
- Dean Cheng strikes again with an excellent analysis of the F-16 deal and China's airpower at Heritage
- Jenna discusses the recent posts on foreigners.
- Taiwan Echo's post on polls and the GV shutdown. READ IT.
- I am not the Michael quoted in this BBC thing.
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