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Former Taiwan leader released with restricted actions on graft charges
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13:01, December 13, 2008

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Taiwan's former leader Chen Shui-bian was released early Saturday morning on his own recognizance after a month's detainment and indictment on corruption charges.

Waiting for a verdict to his trial, Chen was banned from leaving the island and instigating the public for support, pledging that he would appear at any moment for summons.

Leaving the Taipei District Court back to his home in Taipei, Chen said he would keep his promise to the prosecutors and judges.

The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) under Taiwan's prosecution authorities indicted the former leader on Friday after finishing an investigation into allegations Chen engaged in money laundering and other offenses during his recently concluded time in office.

Although the prosecutors asked for Chen's further detainment, the court agreed to Chen's lawyers' request for bail early Saturday, following a four-hour hearing that began Friday evening.

Chen was detained on Nov. 12 on accusations of money laundering and misusing a special fund during his eight years in office. His term ended in May.

Chen and his wife were found to have embezzled 104 million New Taiwan dollars (3.15 million U.S. dollars) in public funds and accepted bribes of about 9 million U.S. dollars in a land purchase deal.

His wife was also found to have taken a kickback of 2.7 million U.S. dollars from a construction project, according to prosecutors.

Their son, daughter-in-law and 10 others were also said to have assisted in concealing the crime and remitting the money to overseas bank accounts.

Prosecuting spokesman Chen Yun-nan said they were seeking "the severest punishment" for Chen.

Despite his major crimes, Chen had shown no remorse during the investigation and attacked the judicial system time and again, the spokesman said. "So we are seeking the severest punishment for him."

Prosecutors also recommended a heavy sentence to his wife Wu for "using her status to interfere in politics and rake in money and undermining the system."


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