Taiwan former first lady gets additional jail term

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 2:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 2:16pm

Taiwan’s high court has extended the jail term of the wife of former president Chen Shui-bian by 14 months following convictions for graft and money laundering, officials said on Tuesday.

Wu Shu-chen had already been sentenced to 18 years in jail on four convictions, including corruption and perjury, when she was found guilty on counts of taking bribes and laundering money in a July ruling.

Those latest convictions have now led to the extension of the 59-year-old’s total imprisonment term to 19 years and two months.

Wu, who is wheelchair-bound and paralysed from the waist down, has been spared from serving her sentence due to poor health.

Her husband is serving an 18-year-and-six-month jail term on bribery and money-laundering convictions in a sprawling corruption case. The former leader’s term was lengthened earlier this month from 17 years and six months.

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.

He 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.

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. The allegations have been flatly rejected by the government.