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Taiwan High Court affirms insider trading conviction of president's son-in-law

[JURIST] The Taiwan High Court [official website, in Chinese] convicted Chao Chien-min, son-in-law of President Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile], of insider trading Tuesday. The decision affirmed a lower court's verdict [JURIST report], which also imposed a $900,000 fine, but increased Chao's prison sentence from six years to seven years because the insider trading exceeded $3.5 million. The court also affirmed the guilty verdict and the $900,000 fine against Chao's father, Chao Yu-chu, and sentenced him to nine years and six months in prison. The Chaos, who have up to 10 days to file a formal appeal, are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court of the Republic of China [official website].

Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was indicted [JURIST report] last November for embezzlement and falsifying documents. Prosecutors have indicated that they have enough evidence to also indict Chen, who enjoys Article 52 [text] constitutional immunity from most criminal prosecution while he remains in office. Prosecutors say that the president and first lady embezzled $450,000 from the state affairs budget between 2002 and 2006. Chen has said that the funds were used for classified diplomatic purposes [JURIST report] although he has refused to produce documents to back his claim, saying the documents are state secrets. Chen has pledged to resign if his wife is found guilty, but it is unlikely that the trial will conclude before his term expires in 2008. Reuters has more. The Central News Agency has local coverage.

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