The money laundering saga of self-proclaimed son-of-Taiwan Chen Shuibian continues.
On Wednesday, Chen Shuibian’s son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching both pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in exchange for leniency.
According to China Times, the main terms of the plead bargain includes:
1. Cooperating with authorities to recover deposits in Swiss and Scottish banks totaling NT$700 million (21 million USD);
2. Returning NT$740 million stashed in safe deposit box and NT$540 million (17+ millions USD) wired to Switzerland;
3. Cooperating with on-going investigations to discover any additional overseas bank accounts;
4. Persuading the former First Lady to return cash and jewelry left with friends in Taiwan and Japan for safekeeping, totaling NT$600 million (20 million USD);
5. Pleading guilty (after much private deliberation);
6. Apologizing to society at large; and
7. Persuading the former First Lady to appear in court.
I think it’s about time that members of Chen’s immediate family finally admit guilt in this embarrassing soap opera.
But while some of the shame and guilt projected by Chen’s son and daughter-in-law in court on Wednesday may be genuine, should the Taiwanese people so readily accept the apologies at such face value?
After all – the Chen family has thus far all but stonewalled justice at every corner with every opportunity they’ve got.
In the mean time, the indicted former president, Chen Shuibian, has steadfastly stuck to his story of innocence, recently publishing in prison a politically intriguing memoir titled “Taiwan’s Cross To Bear.”
In the memoir, Chen explained how tirelessly he has bore the burden of the entire hopes and aspirations of the Taiwanese people and how the money laundering charges have all been conspired by political rivals to blackmail his family.
[This post has been edited by Allen. To the extent it is biased and flawed, please attribute the faults to Allen.]
Charles Liu says
Thanks for the edit and opinion. It’s much more interesting than just reporting the news.
As to Chen’s son pleading guilty, he got a good deal since there were no corruption charges, only money laundering. BTW I really don’t think they would do this without consulting the parents first.
“While some of the shame and guilt projected by Chen’s son and daughter-in-law in court on Wednesday may be genuine, should the Taiwanese people accept the apologies at such face value and so readily?”
Does it matter? Whether people accept their apologies or not, there’s still a justice process to work out that will distribute punishment. Whether people believe their shame is genuine or not, only the judge’s view of their sincerity will matter in sentencing.
Even for those of us on the green side of things, who even have some sympathy for some of Chen’s family or even for the way Chen’s case has been handled, do you think we can forgive adn forget so easily how he single handedly screwed the party?
Jed Yoong says
So sad. Taiwan, yet another corrupt Asian democracy. I liked Chen. So sad.
My feelings about Chen are similar to A-gu’s. I thought it was a good thing for Taiwan to elect an opposition leader, any opposition leader, because the previous governments had been so corrupt (black gold) after holding power for so many years. A turnover in administrations helped clean things up with noticable improvements in Taiwan’s infrastructure and quality of life. But there’s definitely some “funny stuff” going on within this family. No one should be above the law, especially someone who ran a campaign to clean up the corruption and graft in Taiwan.
Having said that, there should be a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If that presumption isn’t there within the ruling party and court system, then the perception will be that it is a political and not criminal trial. With the entering of “guilty” pleas by various family members, money laundering in the family has been established but nothing has been proven in Chen’s case… yet.
Do I personally think he’s guilty? Yeah, I think he’s guilty as hell. Don’t give me the excuse that your wife tricked you or whatever nonsense he’s dishing out. His wife seems to be a greedy golddigger but that doesn’t excuse Chen’s behavior. As president, he should be held to the highest standards. I’m glad to see that he’s been charged and is being brought to trial.
But some aspects are upsetting. Chen was in solitary confinement in prison for a month before being charged. Where is the presumption of innocence? They said they were worried he would talk with others involved, but he already had a chance to do that for several months. Then they said he might escape. Escape? How can an ex-president escape? Did they think he could waltz through the airport and no one would notice? Did they really need to put him in handcuffs? Was he a danger to flee or hurt someone? There are electronic means to track a person’s whereabouts. All it did was give him an opportunity to claim he was being persecuted. And that’s exactly what it looked like.
Then a panel of judges releases him from jail without bail. Two weeks later, this panel of judges is mysteriously replaced by a new panel of judges that orders him back to prison. Why? Now the judges that mysteriously took over the case will preside at his trial. Doesn’t this look like political interference?
Why have all the recent corruption investigations involved only the DDP politicians? I haven’t seen any KMT politicians brought to trial. The only big incident seems to be Diane Lee and her dual citizenship, but that wasn’t brought about by prosecutors but by DPP legislators.
Recently, the prosecutors involved in the case put on a skit at a party at the justice ministry that was eventually shown on TV. One of the women pretended to be Chen and raised her arms above her head, pretending she was in handcuffs. The audience thought this was hilarious. A skit by prosecutors concerning an ongoing trial? How much credibility do these people now have among the general public? Isn’t this an incredible lack of professionalism?
The thing that gets me is that Chen shouldn’t have any excuses or appearances of impropriety in his trial. It should be professional, honest and fair. Under those circumstances, my guess is he’d be convicted based on what I’ve read. But with the arrogant behavior of the Taiwan justice system, he’ll look like he’s being persecuted and instead of a criminal, they’ll create a martyr among a certain percentage of the population.
What should be the justice system’s crowning achievement, the conviction of a major political figure who thought he was above the law, will just seem like partisan politics, another case of ‘gotcha’. That is the greater tragedy in my eyes.
No matter what Chen has done, the political corruption of old KMT has shone through and will sully any chance of Chen getting a fair trial.
The KMT finally gave in on the Dianne Lee case not because what she did was wrong, they knew that all along, but because they could not contain the issue any longer. If the KMT were really interested in Taiwan’s future, and not just their own, there are 4 things they could do today.
1. At any whiff of internal impropriety, sack or hold that person to account. (It works in Australia)
2. Treat the opposition party as an opposition party and not an enemy. Start a dialog and communicate with the DPP.
3. Stop interfering with the media and divest all party media assets
4. Accept that Taiwan will be stronger with a competitive democratic system. Political competition roots out corruption in politics because parties represent people’s wish to remove it.
Every indication of the new KMT leadership is that they are actively working against these 4 simple principles. No matter what outcome from the Chen trial it will be seen as politically corrupt, because it is.
Michael Turton says
Yup Yup Yup. If the KMT hadn’t so obviously tried to arrange the outcome, then Chen would probably have been convicted in a fair trial. Now it is forever tainted.
But the killers of Lin Yi-hsiung’s family still run free, too.
Charles Liu says
Beagle17 is right, Lee Denghui is still free from prosecution, so is Soong. How did Lien family amass such wealth thru all those government land deals?
Not a whole lot different than Chen family. Like Nixon said, it’s not about breaking the law, it’s whether you get caught.