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Talk of the day -- Moves to wipe out political graft

Talk of the day -- Moves to wipe out political graft

The U.S. government has filed complaints seeking to expropriate two properties in New York and Virginia owned by Taiwan's former first family that were allegedly bought with bribe money paid to former President Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen during his presidency between 2000 and 2008.
John Morton, director of immigration and customs enforcement under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement issued Wednesday that the move serves as "a warning to corrupt foreign officials who abuse their power for personal financial gain and then attempt to place those funds in the U.S. financial system." The U.S. move came on the heels of a corruption scandal that has hit Taiwan's judiciary. After three senior judges and a prosecutor were taken into custody Wednesday on charges of taking bribes, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Hsieh Wen-ting said the following day that 10 other judges have been put on a watch list on suspicion of corruption.
The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of the topics: United Daily News: The U.S. government's civil forfeiture complaints against Chen's two properties have spurred speculation as to its motivation.
As a matter of fact, there should be no political motives or other considerations behind its move because a crackdown on cross-border money laundering and political graft is an established U.S.
policy.
According to the U.S. complaints, the U.S. judicial branch has worked closely with Taiwan's Supreme Prosecutors Office to gather and exchange evidence regarding the money laundering that took place in the Chen family case to support the forfeiture of the properties.
"As we can see in this instance, international cooperation is often the key to effective enforcement, " U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said Wednesday, adding that the case is a good example of the U.S. government's resolve to prevent criminals profiting from their crimes.
U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney was quoted in a Reuters report as saying that if the properties are obtained by the U.S. government, they will be sold and the proceeds deposited into a forfeiture fund and then made available to share with Taiwan.
As the Taiwan-U.S. judicial aid agreement does not contain any provisions regarding the ratio of distribution of proceeds from joint anti-money laundering operations, local pundits said it remains uncertain how much Taiwan will be able to obtain from the sale of the Chen family's properties. (July 16, 2010).
China Times: Ray L. Huang, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney, said the chances are high that the U.S. government will win its civil forfeiture complaints against two U.S. properties owned by Taiwan's former first family.
In an effort to prevent the U.S. from becoming a haven for cross-border money laundering, Huang said, U.S. courts tend to mete out verdicts in favor of the U.S. authorities in relevant complaints as long as they present evidence with a "50.1 percent of preponderance." Chen Hung-ta, director of the Special Investigation Division under the Supreme Prosecutors Office, also said Thursday that the U.S. government is eligible to file complaints to recover properties owned by people allegedly involved in money laundering no matter whether final verdicts on such cases have been meted out or not.
(July 16, 2010).
Liberty Times: The Judicial Yuan, which oversees judges and courts operations, already passed a package of rules in 2005 that authorize the Supreme Prosecutors Office (SPO) to form "self-correction" ad hoc task force to investigate judges suspected of involvement in graft or corruption, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Hsieh Wen-ting said Thursday.
One of the three Taiwan Hight Court judges who were detained Wednesday on charges of accepting bribes from former Miaoli Magistrate Ho Chih-hui was on the "watch list" proposed by the SPO, Hsieh said.
Moreover, he added, 10 other judges are also being probed on suspicion of graft because of "they are leading lavish lifestyles uncompatible to their formal income." (July 16, 2010).
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-06-19 08:48 GMT+08:00