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Taiwan ex-president's associates plead guilty to corruption charges

[JURIST] The sister-in-law of embattled former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] on Thursday entered a guilty plea at the Taipei District Court on charges of money laundering related to a corruption scandal surrounding the former leader and his associates. Chen Chun-ying admitted she had forged documents and transferred money to bank accounts upon orders from Chen Shui-bian and his wife, claiming that she did not know the money was illegally obtained and did not profit from the transfer. Businessman Kuo Chuan-ching also pleaded guilty to paying $2.7 million in kickbacks in exchange for a building contract. Kuo is expected to serve as a witness for the prosecution [Taiwan News report]. Prosecutors reportedly rejected Chen Chun-ying's request to plea bargain due to ongoing investigations in the scandal.

Chen Chun-ying is the fourth family member to enter guilty pleas for their roles in the scandal. The former president was indicted [JURIST report] last year by Taiwanese prosecutors on charges including embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery, and money laundering. His wife, his son and daughter-in-law, three former presidential aides, and eight other associates and family members have also been indicted. Chen Shui-bian has been detained since his November arrest [JURIST report] on suspicion of embezzling money from the state affairs fund. Last month, Taiwan's High Court [official website] rejected [JURIST report] Shui-bian's appeal protesting the court's previous decision to detain him [JURIST report] while he awaits trial on corruption charges.

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