Prosecutors reject plea bargains by 6 defendants in Chen cases
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 3
2009-08-05 01:02 AM
Prosecutors rejected requests for plea bargaining from six defendants in ex-President Chen Shui-bian's corruption and money laundering cases yesterday.

The prosecutors motivated their decision by saying the suspects had a high likelihood of involvement in the cases, while other investigations still had not been completed.

The six included the jailed former president's son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Juei-ching, who reportedly were refused plea bargaining because they had not sufficiently cooperated with the return to Taiwan of NT$700 million found in Swiss accounts. After their appearance at the Taipei District Court yesterday, their attorney Yeh Ta-huei said they were fully cooperating with the investigation, rejecting the allegations about the Swiss accounts.

Yeh said Chen and Huang were completely honest about the accounts, and had exchanged several letters with the Swiss banks beginning in January to return the money to a Taiwanese account determined by prosecutors. The latest letter in the correspondence left Taiwan last month, but no reply had been received yet, the attorney said. The next hearing in their case is scheduled for Aug. 13.

The other uncompleted investigations mentioned by prosecutors as reasons to reject the plea bargains included allegations of bribes surrounding financial reforms and the presence of NT$570 million at a branch of the Cathay United Bank.

The other defendants who saw their requests for plea bargaining rejected yesterday were former first lady Wu Shu-jen's brother Wu Ching-mao, his wife Chen Chun-ying, family friend Tsai Ming-chieh and businessman Kuo Chuan-ching, a construction tycoon accused of paying bribes to obtain a government contract.

Kuo allegedly intervened with the first lady and then-Interior Minister Yu Cheng-hsien to obtain a list of members on a committee deciding contracts for the Nangang Exhibition Center in Taipei. The name list reportedly allowed Kuo to exert pressure on the committee to approve his bid for the tender, though the members denied they accepted payments from the tycoon.

Kuo's attorney said the tycoon was offering to donate NT$30 million in return for freedom from prosecution.

In another case, prosecutors requested a two-year prison sentence suspended for five years and a fine of NT$10 million for Tsai. The family friend of the former first lady was indicted for accepting bribes in a land deal in Lungtan, Taoyuan County. The requested sentence was seen as a concession for Tsai's cooperation and willing-ness to return the illegal payments.

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