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More plead guilty in cases related to Taiwan's former first family
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 2
2009-02-06 12:35 AM
Jailed Former President Chen Shui-bian's sister-in-law Chen Chun-ying and businessman Kuo Chuan-ching both pleaded guilty at a court session yesterday in the corruption and money laundering scandals surrounding the former First Family.

Prosecutors said they refused to accept plea bargaining for Chen Chun-ying, the wife of former First Lady Wu Shu-jen's brother Wu Ching-mao, because more cases were still under investigation.

Chen reportedly handled funds and bank accounts for the former First Lady, while Kuo allegedly paid Wu US$2.73 million for a name list of panel members judging his company's bid for the construction of the Nangang Exhibition Hall. He allegedly received the list from then-Interior Minister Yu Cheng-hsien, who denied accepting money in the case.

Kuo, a construction tycoon, was the first suspect in the case to turn witness for the prosecution.

Kuo and Chen are the latest of 14 people indicted on various corruption and money laundering cases to plead guilty, starting with the former president's son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching last Jan. 21. The younger Chen held a news conference Wednesday to emphasize he and his wife were standing by their decision.

The former First Lady is scheduled to appear in court next Tuesday and Wednesday, with speculation mounting as to how she will plead. Her fragile health led her to request and receive leave from 17 sessions in another trial after fainting at its opening session in late 2006.

Prosecutors said yesterday a prominent businessman, China Development Financial Holding president Angelo Koo, had been listed as a defendant for money laundering. Media reports said investigators had found he transferred US$600,000 and NT$34 million to overseas accounts on Wu's behalf. Koo is a member of a prominent family allegedly involved in several deals with Wu.

A close confidant of the former president, former China Steel Corporation chairman Lin Wen-yuan, could also soon be listed as a defendant, media reported.

Prosecutors are currently investigating allegations of payments by financial groups to the former President and his entourage in return for the government's approval of mergers and takeovers.

The former president's brother, Chen Wen-shou, visited him in prison in Tucheng, Taipei County, yesterday. He told reporters he brought their mother's wishes for the former president's health. Both live in the Tainan County township of Kuantien.

The former president is expected to appear in court again on Feb. 24. Chen has said he is innocent, describing the funds found in overseas accounts as leftovers from past election spending. He says the charges against him are politically motivated.

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