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Ex-president sentenced to 18 years for bribery

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/13 18:33:59

Taipei, Oct. 13 (CNA) Former President Chen Shui-bien was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the High Court Thursday for his part in bribery over a series of bank mergers.

In addition, he was fined NT$180 million (US$5.95 million) and stripped of his civil rights for nine years. His wife Wu Shu-jen was sentenced to 11 years and fined NT$102 million in the same case, and stripped of her civil rights for eight years.

Thursday's high court ruling overturned the earlier ruling by a district court.

Last November, the Taipei District Court cleared the ex-president and former first lady of all the charges, based on a lack of evidence that they had taken money from the financial holding companies to help manipulate the mergers.

According to the district court's interpretation, although the prosecutors accused Chen of accepting bribes while acting as the country's president, financial company mergers do not fall under the scope of the president's responsibility, which begged the question of why Chen would even have been approached to intervene.

In December 2009, the Supreme Court's Special Investigation Division (SID) charged Chen and his wife with taking bribes totaling NT$610 million from Cathay Financial Holding Co. and Yuanta Financial Holdings during the country's push to consolidate the banking sector.

In that indictment, Chen and Wu were accused of receiving NT$400 million from Cathay Financial Holding Co. in exchange for facilitating a merger between Cathay Financial and World Chinese Commercial Bank.

The former first couple was also accused of taking NT$210 million from Yuanta Financial Holdings to facilitate a merger of that company and Fu-Hwa Financial Holding Co. (By Yu-chia Lai and C.J. Lin) ENDITEM/J

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