Spy chief jailed in Chen scandal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 May, 2011, 12:00am


The Taiwanese High Court sentenced a former investigation chief to six years in prison over his role in a corruption scandal involving former president Chen Shui-bian.

Yeh Sheng-mao becomes the first director of the Bureau of Investigation - the equivalent of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation - to be imprisoned for leaking classified documents to Chen over an international probe into alleged money laundering by Chen and his family.

'The defendant was convicted of concealing a secret document concerning the Egmont Group's investigation into overseas money laundering involving the defendant's family,' a court spokesman said yesterday.

In 2006, the international anti-money laundering group alerted the Taiwanese bureau about alleged money laundering by Chen's son, Chen Chih-chung, and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching.

Instead of sending the report by Egmont to then prosecutor-general Chen Tsung-ming for legal action, Yeh hid the document. He later tipped off Chen Shui-bian about the probe, the spokesman said.

Yeh was first sentenced to 10 years in prison by Taipei District Court in December 2008. He appealed to the High Court, which reduced his sentence to six years on the grounds that the tip-off did not finally result in Chen and his family keeping the funds abroad. Swiss authorities froze the funds kept by Chen's son and daughter-in-law in several bank accounts in Switzerland. The Swiss authorities later returned the funds to Taiwan's Prosecution Department.

Chen is serving a 171/2-year sentence along with his wife, Wu Shu-chen, after they were convicted by the Supreme Court in November of corruption. More trials are pending on other charges.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Major General Lo Hsien-che who is accused of spying for the mainland.