Prosecutors have said the former president could face a sentence of life in jail if he is convicted on all counts.

Chen, who served as president from 2000 to 2008, is facing a range of charges related to the case, including embezzlement and bribe-taking.


Former president Chen Shui-bian is facing a possible sentence of life in jail [AFP]
He has been held at a detention centre in suburban Taipei since last December after a court rejected his appeal for bail saying he was a flight risk.

Chen is accused of embezzling about $3m from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9m in connection with a government land deal, and laundering part of the funds by wiring the money to Swiss bank accounts.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which he says are part of a vendetta against him for his anti-China views by his successor, Ma Ying-jeou, the current Taiwan president.

Last year he went on hunger strike in protest at his detention.

His wife is also facing the possibility of a lengthy jail term, if she is found guilty on bribe-taking and money laundering charges.

She has denied the charges but pleaded guilty to forgery.