Taiwan court quashes Chen appeal in graft case

Taiwan's Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a successful appeal by ex-president Chen Shui-bian against one of his corruption convictions, ordering the High Court to review the high-profile case.

Chen was convicted by a district court of embezzling state funds that were supposed to be used for official purposes during his 2000-2008 presidency.

The High Court cleared him on appeal, but prosecutors then went to the Supreme Court, which found that "most of the spending was used by his family" and ordered the High Court to reinvestigate, it said in a statement.

Chen is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term for two other convictions, and faces several additional corruption charges.

The Supreme Court also confiscated $2.73 million Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen had illegally obtained from a businessman, which the High Court had ruled did not need to be surrendered.

Wu is wheelchair-bound and although she was sentenced to the same term as her husband, for health reasons she has not been jailed.

Wu has been paralysed from the waist down since a car accident 27 years ago, and hospital officials have said she suffers complications from spinal injuries and cannot look after herself in prison.

Chen and members of his family have been accused in a complex network of cases of sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, laundering millions of US dollars and taking kickbacks on government contracts.

The ex-leader says that the legal action against him is a political vendetta carried out by the Beijing-friendly government in retaliation for his policies promoting Taiwanese independence while he was in power.

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