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Taiwan's Chen facing new charges
Prosecutors allege former president took $8.8m in bribes from local banker.
Last Modified: 05 May 2009 16:47 GMT
Prosecutors allege Chen took bribes disguised
as political donations [AFP]

Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan's former president currently on trial for corruption, is facing fresh graft charges.

Taiwanese prosecutors issued an indictment on Tuesday alleging Chen had taken $8.8m in bribes, as the former leader's high-profile trial continued into its second month.

Prosecutors allege Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-chen, took bribes disguised as political donations or funds to promote Taiwanese interests overseas, from a local banker.

Jeffrey Koo Jr, then vice chairman of Chinatrust Financial Holding, paid the sum in seven instalments from 2002 to 2005, Chen Yun-nan, the prosecutor, said.

Prosecutors had been looking into charges that Koo paid the bribes in exchange for Chen Shui-bian's help in a plan by Chinatrust to merge with another bank and in persuading the government to acquire a piece of land from his bank.

'Political donations'

Koo had denied the allegations, saying the money was a political donation to Chen's Democratic Progressive Party.

Chen Yun-nan said prosecutors accepted Koo's version of events and said he had not  been charged as the former leader had demanded that Koo pay him the money.

"Koo is considered to be the victim of the crime," he said.

Chen Shui-bian was first indicted in November and has already been charged with embezzling about $3.15m while president from 2000 to 2008.

He has repeatedly denied the charges, saying he was being persecuted by Ma Ying-jeou, his successor as president, because of his anti-China views.

Chen remains in detention in Taipei and, if convicted, he could face life in prison.

Source:
Agencies
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