Taiwan court extends ex-leader Chen's jail term

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 2:14pm

Taiwan’s high court said on Friday it has extended ex-leader Chen Shui-bian’s prison sentence by one more year to 18 years and six months following a conviction earlier in the year for money laundering.

The court in 2010 handed out the original sentence after convicting Chen on two accounts of bribery in a final verdict. It found him guilty of money laundering in July in another final ruling.

Chen, 62, was arrested in November 2008 less than six months after he left office, on corruption claims stemming from his two terms as president between 2000 and 2008.

Chen and family members have been accused of laundering millions of US dollars by sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, and taking kickbacks on government contracts.

He has scored a few victories in the ongoing legal battles, including an acquittal of misusing diplomatic funds during officials trips, but could face an additional jail term with more trials pending on other charges.

Chen insists that the legal action against him is a vendetta carried out by Taiwan’s current Beijing-friendly government in retaliation for his eight years in power, when he promoted Taiwan’s independence from China.