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Court to hand down verdicts on ex-first couple on Sept. 11

Presiding judge Tsai Shou-hsun will hand down verdicts on all four cases involving former President Chen Shui-bian and his wife on Sept. 11.

After the last hearing of the Longtan science park case, Tsai said yesterday his court would rule on all the cases at the same time rather than separately.

Lee Chieh-mu, a former director-general of the Hsinchu Science Park Authority, was questioned in a debate at the hearing.

He pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe to approve a sale of land in Longtan by Leslie Koo, chairman of the Taiwan Cement Company, to the government at a bloated price. The land purchased was developed as part of Lee's science park.

Only ex-first lady Wu Shu-chen is under trial for the science park scandal. Lee testified in court he visited the Chens at their official residence at Wu's request.

She got Lee to approve the land sale.

President Chen is being tried on two more cases. He is a co-defendant in the abuse of his “state affairs” fund and money laundering.

His wife was charged with borrowing receipts from friends and relatives to claim reimbursements totaling NT$104 million from 2000 to 2008, as well as accepting bribes to help award contracts for construction of an exhibition hall at Nankang.

Ex-President Chen is not involved in the Nankang case.

The Chens were accused of laundering more than NT$930 million abroad. They claimed the money was part of the political contributions and government subsidies for elections.

Only President Chen has been placed under detention since Dec. 30 last year. His wife has not been taken under custody due to poor health.

There is no more need for detaining President Chen between July 28 and Sept. 11, his spokesman Chiang Chih-ming said.

“When the court completes all hearings,” Chiang said, “President Chen's detention should be terminated. There's no need to continue detaining him until Sept. 11 when the presiding judge hands down the verdicts.”

A few other defendants, including former deputy presidential secretary Ma Yung-cheng, will have to attend a debate session next Tuesday.

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