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July 30, 2009

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Chen rejects charges but apologizes

FORMER Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian rejected charges of corruption in closing arguments in court yesterday but apologized for the way his family "handled money."

Chen made his statements to the Taipei district court during a marathon session that began on Tuesday after a series of combative appearances earlier in the year.

"He rejected the criminal charges," said court spokesman Huang Chun-ming. "That should amount to his closing statement."

Prosecutors have charged Chen with embezzling NT$104 million (US$3.2 million) from a special government fund, accepting bribes of about NT$9 million related to a land procurement deal and taking another NT$2.73 million in kickbacks to help a contractor win its bid for a government project.

Chen apologized shortly before leaving court "for how my family handled money; it wasn't up to the highest moral standards or political expectations," Taiwan's Liberty Times quoted Chen as saying.

His wife, son and daughter-in-law have admitted partial guilt in the case.
The court is due to make a ruling on September 11.


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