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Ex-President Chen Shui-bian indicted over financial reform
The reform includes the privatization and merger of financial companies
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 1
2009-12-25 12:00 AM
Prosecutors indicted jailed former President Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen with 20 relatives and top business people on charges ranging from money laundering to breach of trust yesterday.

The charges were related to the ex-president's financial reform program, which included the privatization and merger of financial companies. The NT$400 million Chen's family received from the Cathay Financial Holding and NT$210 million from the Yuanta Financial Holding would be confiscated, prosecutors said.

Chen, who has been jailed as a suspect since December 30 last year, was sentenced to life in prison and a fine of NT$200 million on September 11. Wu received the same jail term and a NT$300 million fine. Both are appealing the verdicts. Chen was also indicted for alleged misuse of special diplomatic funds on Sept. 22.

The total of 22 people indicted yesterday included several members of Chen's family as well as a long list of well-known business leaders.

The ex-president's daughter, Chen Hsing-yu, was for the first time indicted for money laundering. Until now, she had not featured in the scandals implicating her parents. In addition, the ex-president's son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching were also indicted.

The indictments included top business leaders accused of helping the Chen family launder money. The list included Yuanta Financial founder Rudy Ma and his two sons, former Mega Financial Chairman Cheng Shen-chih and Cathay Financial Vice Chairman Tsai Chen-yu, a member of Taiwan's wealthiest family.

Prosecutors said that from 2001 to September or October 2004, Chen would request Cathay pay him NT$100 million each year through a close aide.

Prosecutors linked payments to allegations that prominent financial groups paid the former First Family in return for favors, in particular for the permission to go ahead with the acquisition of other financial firms.

Examples were the takeover of the Fuhwa Financial Group by Yuanta, and Cathay Financial merging the United World Chinese Commercial Bank with its own bank to form the Cathay United Bank, prosecutors said.

Yuanta founder Ma was charged for helping Wu move an estimated NT$740 million from a Cathay United Bank vault to one of his buildings and later wire the money overseas, reports said.

Yuanta issued a statement yesterday saying the Ma family no longer held senior positions at the company. The indictments would not influence its business, the statement said.

Former Chinatrust Financial Vice Chairman Jeffrey Koo, Junior was indicted for violations of banking and stock transaction laws in connection with an attempt at taking over the Mega Financial group.

Koo has played a crucial role in the investigation, returning from Japan where he was avoiding prosecution for a financial scandal to face questioning. His brother Angelo Koo, a former president of China Development Financial Holdings, was also indicted yesterday.

Prosecutors decided not to file charges against five suspects, including Ma's wife Judy Tu and former presidential cashier Chen Chen-huei.

The ex-president's daughter-in-law told Sanlih E-Television that she was surprised at the verdict, but other family members had not reacted by late yesterday.

Chen's detention was recently extended by two months until late February. He has always pleaded innocent, accusing the Kuomintang government and the judiciary of a vendetta against him.

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