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September 15, 2009

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Chen appeals life sentence

FORMER Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has appealed against a guilty verdict and life sentence for graft, his office said yesterday.

The Taipei District Court on Friday convicted Chen on six charges related to corruption and bribery, closing a fractious, high-profile case that opened nearly three years ago, involving Chen's wife and numerous family members and aides. He was also fined US$6 million.

Chen has said the charges were political and denied wrongdoing. "The high court's handling of the case must be fair, impartial and transparent," Chen's foundation said while announcing the appeal.

The case could affect support for Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which backed Chen when he was in office and faces tough local elections at the end of the year. Chen left the DPP last year.

Prosecutors had charged Chen with embezzling NT$104 million (US$3.185 million) from a presidential office fund, accepting bribes of about NT$9 million related to a land procurement deal and taking another NT$2.73 million in kickbacks.


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