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Former Taiwan first lady pleads guilty to money-laundering charges

[JURIST] Wu Shu-Chen, the wife of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of money-laundering and forgery, but denied charges that she embezzled from the presidential state affairs fund. Wu claims the money was a political donation [Taiwan News report], and was not for personal use or bribery. Tuesday marked Wu's first appearance since she was initially indicted in 2006 [JURIST report]. The court had excused her due to health concerns after she collapsed at the onset of the proceedings in 2006. The trial is one of many tied to the administration of the former president, who was indicted [JURIST report] last year by Taiwanese prosecutors on charges including embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery, and money laundering.

In addition to charging Wu and Chen, prosecutors have indicted their son and daughter-in-law, three former presidential aides, and eight other associates and family members. Last week, Chen's sister-in-law pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to charges that she had forged documents and transferred money to bank accounts upon orders from Chen and Wu. Chen has been detained since his arrest in November, and last month Taiwan's High Court rejected his appeal of the decision to detain him [JURIST reports] while he awaits trial.

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