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Talk of the day: Ex-president told to remit money to get release

Talk of the day: Ex-president told to remit money to get release

Former President Chen Shui-bian, who has been in detention for more than 500 days for his involvement in money laundering and corruption cases, was told by a judge Friday that he could be released on bail if he returns NT$700 million from his family's Swiss bank accounts.
As Chen's current detention period will expire on April 23, his family members promised to do everything possible to return the money.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue: China Times: Teng Chen-chiu, the presiding judge at the Taiwan High Court collegial panel, said that Chen's release depended heavily on whether the money is returned to a bank account designated by the Supreme Prosecutors Office's Special Investigation Division (SID).
After the oral arguments were made, Chen spoke with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and lawyers about how to repatriate the money soon.
Teng told Chen's family that they should heed public opinion and repatriate the money quickly, adding that it was crucial to secure the ex-president's release.
Chen's lawyer, Cheng Wen-lung, pointed out that a slush fund from the Lafayette frigate deal struck between Taiwan and France in the early 1990s is still frozen in a Swiss bank account, adding that there are many reasons for the failure to return overseas funds to Taiwan.
Cheng said the court shouldn't give a condition that a defendant could not fulfill.
The ex-president's wife, Wu Shu-jen, said that her husband's detention for over 500 days "set a record" in the history of the Republic of China.
The problem of returning the money had to do with communication between the SID and Swiss prosecution authorities, Wu said, adding that the former first family had signed all the necessary documents.
"It will be futile if you just keep pushing us," she said. " We can't go rob the Swiss bank to get the money back." United Daily News Teng told Chen Chih-chung, the ex-president's son, that the return of the money was "crucial" to decisions on how to punish members of the former first family.
The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling June 11 on Chen, his family members and other defendants involved.
Before that date, the court will convene a hearing on whether to extend the detention of Chen, Teng said. If the money is not remitted, Chen will remain behind bars, he added.
Teng also said Chen will be given a "grace period, " adding that as long as Chen's family repatriates the money back before the ruling, he will "take it into consideration in weighing his release." Chen Chih-chung said that the Swiss Federal Prosecution authorities, based on the client's willingness, can agree to remit money back. He also said he will continue to cooperate with the prosecutors, adding that as long as it helped the case, he will not intentionally obstruct the transfer.
Lawyers for Chen Shui-bian said that if SID prosecutors did not actively communicate with the Swiss side, perhaps the responsibility should lie with them.
But public prosecutor Yueh Fang-ju stressed that she has been communicating with the Swiss side since February and has not received sufficient responses from Chen Chih-chung and his lawyers.
Cheng Wen-lung, Chen's lawyer, said that the European Union might delay visa-free privileges for Taiwan nationals due to Taiwan's recent moves toward carrying out executions. He wondered if the move could also affect whether Swiss judicial authorities remit the money back to Taiwan. (April 3, 2010) (By Lilian Wu)




Updated : 2021-04-17 11:00 GMT+08:00