Taiwan's Chen led from questioning in handcuffs
By DEBWU,Associated Press Writer AP - Wednesday, November 12
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was led away in handcuffs Tuesday after investigators questioned him for more than five hours in connection with a lengthy money laundering probe.
He was driven to Taipei District Court where a judge was to rule in a late night session on a prosecutors' request to detain him in a Taipei jail.
If he is detained, it would mark an ignominious fall for the man who incensed China and roiled the United States with his inflammatory policies during his recently concluded eight-years in office.
Chen, who has denied any wrongdoing, is an ardent supporter of Taiwanese independence, a cause decried by Beijing, which insists that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. China has threatened war if the island moves to make its 59-year break with the mainland permanent.
As he was being led away from the prosecutors' office, Chen could be heard shouting, "This is a political persecution" and "Cheers for Taiwan."
There has still been no official statement from prosecutors on the case.
Chen faced more than five hours of questioning Tuesday in connection with his alleged role in what prosecutors say was a money-laundering scheme.
Chen said Monday night he believed his arrest was imminent. Before facing prosecutors Tuesday he linked the likelihood of his arrest to attempts by newly installed Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to placate China, following violent protests last week against a visiting Chinese envoy.
"Long live Taiwanese democracy," Chen declared to his supporters outside the prosecutors' office. "Long live Taiwanese independence."
But Chen's defiance notwithstanding, millions of Taiwanese revile him for permitting his presidency to be mired in an atmosphere of systematic corruption.
Friends and close advisers have been imprisoned on a variety of graft charges, his wife is being tried for allegedly looting a special presidential fund, and Chen himself is facing a complex series of judicial probes.
Tuesday's questioning focused on allegations he laundered money and made illegal use of the special presidential fund during his eight years in office that ended in May.
Chen admitted in August that he broke the law by not fully disclosing campaign donations he had received, after a lawmaker alleged that Chen's son and daughter-in-law moved millions of dollars to Switzerland in 2007, and then forwarded the funds to the Cayman Islands.
At the time prosecutors said they wanted to determine whether the funds were indeed donations left over from political campaigns _ as Chen insisted _ or whether bribery might have been involved.
Under Taiwanese law, false declaration of donations is subject to a fine of $9,670, but money laundering carries a seven-year prison sentence.
Several lawmakers from Ma's Nationalist Party have recently alleged that the ex-president took large bribes in connection with a spate of mergers initiated by the government in 2005, when several small banks took over a number of well-established financial institutions.
Taiwanese newspapers have also reported that Chen received millions of dollars in bribes from Taiwan's Far Eastern Group. Both the company and Chen have denied those reports.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: Business
Peru's Antamina eyes 2008 output, expansionReuters - Wednesday, November 12
Protesters attack Nissan's Spanish HQ over layoffsReuters - Wednesday, November 12
EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm stocks, currencies drop on economic fearsReuters - Wednesday, November 12
Urals crude falls despite Russian export cutReuters - Wednesday, November 12
Boeing, ANZ set Dec. 3 for biofuel test flightReuters - Wednesday, November 12
Most Popular – Business
Britney Spears's son hospitalized: statement
US expands record bailout of insurance giant AIG
In Obama's victory, Americans see legacy of Lincoln
Obama, Bush discuss world of challenges
Swiss fear more pressure on bank secrecy after Obama victory
View Complete List »