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September 12, 2009

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Taiwan's Chen gets life in jail

A TAIWAN court imposed a life sentence on former leader Chen Shui-bian after convicting him of corruption.

Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was also convicted of corruption and received a life sentence too.

The two were fined a total of NT$500 million (US$15.2 million), Taipei District Court spokesman Huang Chun-ming said.

Chen, 58, was charged with embezzling US$3.15 million from a special government fund, receiving bribes worth at least US$9 million in connection with a government land deal, laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts and forging documents.

Wu was charged with money laundering and other graft offenses.

Chen chose not to attend yesterday's proceedings. He has been confined to a suburban Taipei jail since late December, after prosecutors persuaded judges not to free him following his indictment.

Chi Yen-lieh, an official at Chen's jail, said Chen seemed calm after hearing the verdict. "His mood was stable and there was no emotional change," Chi said.

Wu, who has been free on her own recognizance, was not in court.

Chen's son and daughter-in-law were also convicted on money laundering charges. They were sentenced to two-and-a-half and one-year terms, respectively.

Wu was earlier sentenced to a year in jail for perjury. Chen Chih-chung and his sister, Chen Hsing-yu, were each sentenced to six months for perjury too.


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