United States seeks to take over properties of Taiwan’s disgraced former President Chen

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

US moves on properties of former Taiwan leader

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The United States is seeking to take over two properties in New York and Virginia owned by former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and his wife, who were convicted in Taiwan on corruption charges last year.

The U.S. Justice Department filed complaints Wednesday in New York and Virginia alleging part of $6 million paid in bribes to Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, was used to purchase an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Keswick, Virginia.

According to the complaints, Taiwan’s Yuanta Securities Co. Ltd. paid the bribe to ensure its bid to acquire additional shares in the island’s Fuhwa Financial Holding Company Limited would not be blocked by authorities.

“A portion of these bribe proceeds were then transferred … to the United States and used to purchase a condominium in Manhattan” and a house in Virginia, the complaints allege.

Chen governed from 2000 to 2008. He and Wu were convicted last year of embezzling state funds, accepting bribes and money laundering, and sentenced to life in prison.

The sentences were reduced to 20 years by an appeals court earlier this year. The reduction is being appealed by prosecutors.

John Morton, Homeland Security Director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the complaints reflect America’s determination not to allow itself to be abused by corrupt foreign officials.

“This serves as a warning to those … officials who abuse their power for personal financial gain and then attempt to place those funds in the U.S. financial system,” he said.

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