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Taiwan former Investigation Bureau chief Yeh sentenced to ten years in prison
Yeh Sheng-mao is the first suspect to be convicted in the scandals surrounding former first family
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 2
2008-12-05 12:45 AM
A court sentenced retired Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau chief Yeh Sheng-mao to 10 years in prison yesterday for leaking foreign information about money laundering and suggested further investigations into ex-President Chen Shui-bian.

Yeh is the first suspect to be convicted in the numerous scandals involving corruption and money laundering surrounding the former first family.

The Taipei District Court found Yeh guilty of corruption, concealing government documents, and leaking confidential information, a verdict for which he received a prison sentence of eight years and six months.

Yeh was also convicted to two years and six months for leaking confidential information to a lawmaker in a separate case of influence peddling.

Deprived of civil rights

The court merged the two periods into one ten-year prison sentence. Yeh will be deprived of his civil rights for five years. His attorney, Tu Ying-ta, told reporters he would appeal.

The court also rejected a request to release Yeh, sending him back to the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng, Taipei County, where he has been in custody as a suspect since Oct. 6.

"Because his sentence is longer than 10 years, there is a need to continue his period in custody," court spokesman Huang Chun-ying told reporters.

Yeh's case originated with a message to the Investigation Bureau from the international anti-money laundering organization the Egmont Group last January.

The message said there were suspicions that the former first family was laundering money through a Swiss account registered under the name of Chen Shui-bian's daughter-in-law Huang Juei-ching.

Instead of passing the message on to the State Public Prosecutor General for further investigation, Yeh revealed its contents to Chen last January or February.

In the other case, Yeh leaked a plan by investigators to raid the offices of prominent Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming in a search for his alleged involvement in influence peddling over illegal mining in Hualien County.

Rare suggestion

The Taipei District Court also made the rare suggestion that prosecutors should launch further investigations into the ex-president's alleged involvement in money laundering, revealing secrets and influence peddling.

Chen's wife Wu Shu-jen, their son Chen Chih-chung and their daughter-in-law, and Wu Li-pei, a former presidential adviser, should also face additional investigations into money laundering, the court said in its verdict.

The director and an official at the Investigation Bureau's Anti-Money Laundering Center would be investigated for alleged forgery. All the cases will be handed over to the Taipei Prosecutors Office for further investigation, the court said.

The ex-president himself has been detained as a suspect since Nov. 12. He says the money in his accounts comes from past election campaigns.

In the latest developments in the case, his attorney, Cheng Wen-lung, was fighting off allegations from the Ministry of Justice yesterday that he had gone beyond his duty and had acted as a spokesman for his client.

Prosecutors questioned Taipei 101 general manager Diana Chen for about four hours yesterday

She told reporters she was appearing as a witness to tell investigators about her period as chairwoman of the China Development Financial Holding. Her father was also interrogated, she said, without providing more information.

Power struggle

In 2004, the prominent businesswoman was succeeded as China Development head by Angelo Koo after what was widely seen as a power struggle.

Koo is the brother of Jeffrey Koo Jr., the former Chinatrust Financial Holding vice chairman who returned from Japan last month to face extensive interrogation by prosecutors about his own links with the former first family.

Koo denied rumors that he had handed the prosecutors a list with names of prominent financiers who had paid money to the former first family.

The rumors touched off a chain reaction of prominent financial groups denying involvement in payments to Chen and his relatives.

The Cathay Financial Holding took out an advertisement in several prominent Chinese-language newspapers yesterday denying it had acted as a treasury for the former president Chen Shui-bian's funds.

The media allegations followed reports that the former first family moved NT$740 million from a Cathay United Bank branch to another financial institution during massive anti-government protests in 2006.

Hua Nan Financial Holding chairman Lin Ming-cheng issued a statement denying having broken any laws.

The Taishin Financial Holding also said it had not made any payments to the former first family to acquire a stake in Chang Hua Commercial Bank.

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