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Taiwan prosecutors to appeal ex-president's acquittal in bank merger fraud case

Prosecutors from the Taiwanese Special Investigation Panel (SIP) announced Sunday that they will appeal the recent acquittal of former president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Chen was acquitted [JURIST report] on Friday of charges of money laundering, breach of trust and insider trading after the Taipei District Court [official website, in Chinese] ruled there was insufficient evidence against the former president. SIP spokesperson Chen Hung-ta stated that the prosecutors disagreed [Taiwan News report] with the ruling and the court's findings. Chen Hung-ta indicated that the prosecution found [Focus Taiwan report] the court's views on presidential authority as well as its interpretation of other related facts to be unacceptable. Current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [official website, in Chinese; BBC profile] also questioned the court's reasoning and called on courts to be less isolated from society [Taipei Times report].

Chen Shui-bian and his wife were accused of taking more than $20 million in bribes from banks and financial institutions that sought to protect themselves during the implementation of Chen's financial reform program. The pair were sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in September 2009 after being convicted of embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery and money laundering. Chen was again indicted [JURIST report] shortly after the September sentence on additional corruption charges relating to funds he received while traveling abroad as president. Chen was initially detained in November 2008 and formally indicted [JURIST report] the following month. He unsuccessfully appealed [JURIST report] his pretrial detention in January 2009. Chen served as president of Taiwan from 2000-2008.

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