Monday, October 6, 2008

Taiwan's ex-intelligence chief detained for alleged money-laundering cover-up

Taiwan's former intelligence chief Yeh Sheng-mao was detained after appearing at a court hearing in Taipei on Monday morning for hiding documents allegedly implicating a money-laundering case related to ex-Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian.

The local Taipei court was holding the first public hearing of Yeh's money laundering cover-up case, an accusation he denied at the hearing.

He insisted he was just performing his duty as director of Taiwan's investigation bureau when he passed relevant documents from the international anti-money-laundering organization Egmont Group to Chen, then Taiwan leader.

The panel of judges, however, decided to detain him for allegedly hiding official documents, leaking secrets and seeking illegal gain.

Yeh, who served as director of Taiwan's Investigation Bureau from Aug. 2001 to July 2008, was indicted by prosecutors on Aug. 28 for involving in the cover-up of the money-laundering case.

The Taipei court planned to summoned Chen and Yeh for interrogation on Wednesday to let them face each other in court.

Three other suspects have been detained in the high-profile money-laundering case, including one former aide of Chen, a former cashier at his office and an associate of Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen.

So far, nine people have been named as defendants in the case. These include the above mentioned three under detention, Chen, his wife Wu, son Chen Chih-chung, daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching and brother-in-law Wu Ching-mao, and Wu's associate's brother.

Taiwan's Investigation Bureau reportedly received information from Egmont on Jan. 29, indicating that Chen's daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching, had set up a bank account in the Cayman Islands and was suspected of money laundering.

Yeh didn't submit the information to prosecutors in accordance with official procedure.

Taiwan prosecutors launched an investigation and confirmed Yeh's involvement in the alleged cover-up.

Prosecutors found Chen's family had remitted large sums of money amounting to nearly 1 billion New Taiwan dollars to accounts in Switzerland, Singapore, Cayman Islands and other places.

Source: Xinhua

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