Switzer­land to re­turn Chen Shui-bian’s US$6.74 mil. slush fund to Tai­wan

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Switzer­land will re­turn US$6.74 mil­lion to Tai­wan from a slush fund used by the is­land’s graft- tainted for­mer Pres­i­dent Chen Shui-bian ( ) to stash bribes from a high-pro­file fi­nan­cial merger, Tai­wanese pros­e­cu­tors said Wed­nes­day.

Chen and fam­ily mem­bers have been ac­cused of laun­der- ing mil­lions of U.S. dol­lars by send­ing po­lit­i­cal dona­tions and se­cret diplo­matic funds abroad, as well as tak­ing kick­backs on gov­ern­ment con­tracts and bribes from busi­ness­men dur­ing his 2000-2008 pres­i­dency.

Among the cases, Chen was con­victed of tak­ing around US$6.74 mil­lion in bribes paid by Yuanta Se­cu­ri­ties ( ) to fa­cil­i­tate its merger with an­other com­pany in a fi­nal rul­ing in 2012.

Tai­wan in 2013 re­quested Switzer­land re­turn the money which had been frozen in Swiss bank ac­counts in the names of Chen’s son and daugh­ter-in-law, although the cou­ple con­tested the move in Swiss courts, ac­cord­ing to Tai­wan’s supreme pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice.

“We were no­ti­fied by Swiss pros­e­cu­tors that the Swiss Supreme Court has ruled that the fund in con­nec­tion to the Yuanta fi­nan­cial merger case will be re­turned to Tai­wan soon,” said Kuo Wen-dong, a spokesman for the spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit un­der the of­fice.

Swiss au­thor­i­ties have al­ready re­turned to Tai­wan around US$22 mil­lion in de­posits held by Chen fol­low­ing his cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion in sev­eral other cases, ac­cord­ing to the of­fice.

Chen, who had been serv­ing a 20-year jail term on mul­ti­ple graft and money laun­der­ing con­vic­tions re­lat­ing to his time in of­fice, was re­leased on med­i­cal pa­role early Jan­uary af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with se­vere de­pres- sion, sus­pected Parkin­son’s dis­ease and other con­di­tions.

The 64-year-old was orig­i­nally sen­tenced to life in pri­son in 2009 but the term was re­duced to 20 years af­ter ap­peals. Chen’s wife Wu Shu-chen (

), who is par­a­lyzed from the waist down and con­fined to a wheel­chair, has been spared from serv­ing a 20-year sen­tence handed down for her role in the cor­rup­tion of­fences due to poor health.

Chen in­sists that the charges against him are part of a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated vendetta by the cur­rent Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment in re­tal­i­a­tion for his years in power when he pro­moted the idea of Tai­wan declar­ing in­de­pen­dence from China.

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