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Taiwan Supreme Court reduces sentence for ex-president Chen

The Supreme Court of the Republic of China [official website, in Chinese] Thursday reduced the 12-year prison sentences for former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife to 11 years each for bribery charges. The Supreme Court also assigned fines totaling nearly USD $5 million [AFP report]. The court remanded to lower court [Taipei Times report] another case in which the Taiwan High Court [official website, in Chinese] had previously sentenced [JURIST report] Chen to 20 years in prison on embezzlement charges. The decision comes only one week after the Taipei District Court [official website, in Chinese] acquitted [JURIST report] Chen, his wife and other relatives of charges of money laundering, breach of trust and insider trading in a separate bank merger fraud case. Chen has an opportunity to appeal [AP report] the Supreme Court's decision to the highest court in the country, the Council of Grand Justices.

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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