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Taiwan judicial officials indicted on bribery, corruption charges

The Taiwan Supreme Prosecutors Office [official website, in Chinese] on Monday announced the indictment [press release, in Chinese] of 13 people, including three High Court [official website, in Chinese] judges, on charges of bribery, corruption and money laundering. The three judges are accused of accepting more than NT $5 million (USD $155,000) from former legislator Ho Chi-Hui [JURIST news archive] in exchange for clearing him of charges related to a corrupt land-development project in May. According to the indictment, prosecutors will be seeking four-year prison term and a fine of NT $1.5 million (USD $50,000) for senior High Court judge Tsai Kuang-chih, an 18-year prison term and a NT $1.5 million fine for judge Chen Jung-ho and 11 years and a NT $2 million ($60,000 USD) fine for the judge Li Chun-ti. Ho Chi-Hui, also named in the indictment, is accused of facilitating the bribe and is appealing a 19-year sentence and NT $220 million (USD $6.8 million) fine handed down in 2004 [CNA report]. Others named in the indictment [AP report] include two lawyers, two other High Court judges and a Banqiao District Prosecutor.

In August, the Taipei Prosecutors Office [official website] conducted raids [JURIST report] on the homes of several High Court judges and 18 other locations searching for evidence related to the bribery deals. The three High Court judges were arrested [JURIST report] on corruption charges in July and were suspended from duty following their arrests. The judges' indictments follows the Taipei High Court's acquittal [CNA report] last week of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on charges of embezzling USD $20 million from banks [JURIST report] that sought to protect themselves during Chen's financial reform program. Chen is also appealing a 20-year sentence for corruption and embezzlement. He was originally sentenced to life imprisonment, but the court reduced his sentence [JURIST reports] in June after finding that he had not embezzled as much money as previously thought. Chen was originally found guilty on corruption charges and sentenced to life in prison in September. His wife was also given a life sentence after the pair were convicted on charges of embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery and money laundering. Chen has maintained his innocence against all charges, claiming that the current president is using Chen's trial to distance himself from Chen's anti-China views.

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