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August 23, 2017

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Chen's family charged with perjury by court

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei prosecutors yesterday brought perjury charges against former first lady Wu Shu-chen and other family members in connection with ex-President Chen Shui-bian's corruption trial.

They were charged with making false statements in the investigation into Chen's alleged misuse of the presidential expenses, the prosecutors said.

Besides Wu, the indicted included the couple's son Chih-chung and daughter Hsing-yu, whose husband Chao Chien-ming was also charged.

The son, daughter and son-in-law had all previously confessed to making false statements under Wu's instructions, the prosecutors said, adding the prosecution was seeking lighter sentences for them.

Hsing-yu's indictment means that all of the Chen family will go on trial.

Previously the daughter was thought to be the only one not involved in a series of corruption cases against the former first family.

According to the indictment, Chih-chung and Hsing-yu have each made false statements twice while being questioned by the Supreme Court Prosecutors Office's anti-corruption task force.

The task force was investigating how the former president had made reimbursements for his expenses.

Chao also lied during one questioning session.

Also charged with perjury was Diana Chen, a former chairwoman of Taipei 101. Prosecutors pointed out discrepancies in her statements made in December 208 and in April this year.

Chen has argued that the discrepancies were the result of misunderstanding by prosecutors.

Prosecutors said they had yet to decide whether to lift the travel ban on Hsing-yu, who reportedly is eager to study in the United States.

If the travel ban stays, she may not be able to report to the U.S. university by the end-of-August deadline.

Meanwhile, the former president's office said it will take legal actions against the Taipei District Court, the Justice Ministry and other government institutions for keeping Chen in custody, which it said is illegal.

The office said it will file a lawsuit with the court and lodge a complaint with the highest government watchdog Control Yuan next week at the earliest about alleged abuse of authority by parties handling his case, said his aide Wang Shih-si.

Chen's latest request for release has recently been rejected.

Wang said the presiding judge, Chou Shou-hsun, rejected the former president's request based on records of his conversations with people visiting him at the Taipei Detention Center.

The recently implemented changes to the law stipulate that letters suspects write or conversations they make during detention cannot be collected or presented to the court as evidence, the aide said.

Wang said the office will also take legal action against the detention center.

The Taipei District Court earlier this week decided to remand Chen in custody because conversations between him and his visitors showed that the former president was trying to interfere with the trial.

The court said Chen was looking at organizing his supporters into mounting a campaign to exert pressure on the court for his release.

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