Taiwan's ex-president convicted of corruption

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Taiwan court sentenced former president Chen Shui-bian to life in prison after convicting him on corruption charges yesterday – a spectacular fall from grace for a man who rode to power on promises to end decades of corruption and deepen the island's de facto independence.

The conviction marks a watershed in Taiwan's turbulent political history, and a crucial test for the island's still-evolving democracy. The verdict was announced as several hundred supporters demonstrated outside the Taipei court, carrying signs saying "Free him" and "Chen's innocent".

Chen had been charged with embezzling $3.15m (£1.9m) during his 2000-08 presidency from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9m, laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts, and forging documents. The court also convicted Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, on related offences, and sentenced her as well to life in prison.