Chen's son-in-law jailed for six years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am

The son-in-law of Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has been sentenced to six years in jail and fined NT$30 million (HK$7.14 million) for insider trading.

Chao Chien-ming, a doctor suspended by the National Taiwan University Hospital over the scandal, was found guilty of using information he obtained through the president's influence to make illicit gains of NT$4.27 million through dealing in shares of a once financially troubled land developer, Taiwan Development Corp.

Chao's father, Chao Yu-chu, was sentenced to 51/2 years for the same offence and a further three years for embezzling NT$11 million in donations to a tennis association and political funds given to the president. He was also fined NT$30 million.

The Taipei District Court also handed down jail sentences ranging from 17 months to four years and three months to four other businessmen - Yu Shih-yi, Su Te-chien, Chen Chin-yao and Hung Min-sen - for either violating the Stocks Transaction Law or breaching trust.

The two-year sentence handed down to another businessman, Tsai Ching-wen was suspended for four years as reward for testifying as a prosecution witness against Chao Chien-ming.

Chao's lawyers said he would appeal against the verdict. He has at least three chances of appeal and the process could drag on for years.

The sentence was the latest blow to the embattled president, whose wife, Wu Shu-chen, is on trial for document forgery and embezzlement of NT$14.8 million in state funds.

Mr Chen, who has survived three recall motions launched by opposition lawmakers since June to press for his resignation, has to resign if his wife is found guilty of corruption in her first trial.

Meanwhile, prosecutors, who have said Mr Chen would have been charged with the same alleged crimes as his wife were it not for his presidential immunity, are investigating another corruption scandal implicating a former transport minister handpicked by Mr Chen.

Kuo Yao-chi was questioned on Tuesday night by Taipei district prosecutors over allegations she accepted US$20,000 in bribes from contractors for remodelling the underground arcade of the Taipei train station. Ms Kuo, who denied the charges, was released at 3am yesterday on NT$600,000 bail and ordered not to leave Taiwan while the investigation continued.