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Taiwan ex-president Chen acquitted of one charge, given additional sentence

The Taiwan High Court [official website, in Chinese] on Friday overturned the conviction [press release, in Chinese] of former president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on charges of embezzling state funds but sentenced him to additional jail time on charges of money-laundering and forgery. The court had previously sentenced Chen to 20 years in prison on embezzlement charges, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial [JURIST reports] in November, citing insufficient evidence. Chen is currently serving a 17.5-year sentence on other corruption charges, and will now serve an additional two years and eight months, bringing his total sentence to over 20 years. His wife was also sentenced [BBC report] to an additional 11 years at the retrial, but is unlikely to serve any time due to poor health.

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 in September 2009 after being convicted of embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery and money laundering, but that sentence was later reduced [JURIST reports]. 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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