Former Taiwan president arrested on suspicion of corruption

[JURIST] Taipei police arrested former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile] on Tuesday following questioning by prosecutors about possible corruption and money laundering. Prosecutors are specifically questioning [Taipei Times report] whether Chen, the former leader of the now-opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [party website, in Mandarin] who resigned the presidency in May 2008, embezzled money from the state affairs fund. Chen has maintained his innocence and has said that the investigation is a political attack by members of the ruling Kuomintang Party [party website]. Officials from the DPP have also criticized the investigation [press release, in Mandarin], claiming that it lacks necessary transparency, that it has been unfair, and that it is violating the principle of non-public investigations. State officials have not formally charged Chen, though such charges could come as early as Tuesday night. A court hearing on Chen's case was suspended Tuesday after Chen was taken to hospital [BBC report] claiming he had been injured by being pushed from behind after questioning at the state prosecutor's office earlier in the day. AFP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

Corruption allegations against Chen and his family began in 2006, when state officials accused Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-chen, of embezzling NT$14.8 million ($450,000 USD) from the state affairs budget between 2002 and 2006 by using 712 receipts obtained by the first lady through personal acquaintances. Chen has repeatedly denied the charges of embezzlement, saying that the funds reimbursed with the collected receipts were used for classified diplomatic purposes. Wu was indicted [JURIST report] following those allegations for embezzlement and falsifying documents. Prosecutors indicated that they had enough evidence to indict Chen also, but Chen enjoyed Article 52 [text] constitutional immunity from most criminal charges while he remained in office.



 

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