US returns to Taiwan gains linked to corrupt ex-president

The United States said Thursday it is returning $1.5 million to Taiwan from the sale of two homes bought with alleged bribes by the family of disgraced former president Chen Shui-bian.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 07, 2016, 22:13 PM IST

New York: The United States said Thursday it is returning $1.5 million to Taiwan from the sale of two homes bought with alleged bribes by the family of disgraced former president Chen Shui-bian.

The Justice Department said it had sold a condo in Manhattan and a home in Virginia that were seized in 2012 under allegations that they were purchased with bribes paid to former first lady Wu Shu-chen in 2004 during her husband`s administration.

"We are committed to rooting out foreign official corruption and preventing corrupt officials from enjoying their spoils in the United States," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in a statement. "We appreciate the cooperation of Taiwan law enforcement in this matter."

Chen was arrested in Taiwan in November 2008, less than six months after he left office, on corruption allegations. Both he and his wife were subsequently jailed for corruption.

According to the US complaints in the case, Yuanta Securities Co. paid 200 million New Taiwan dollars (about $6 million) to Wu to ensure that her husband supported Yuanta`s bid to acquire another company.

Wu used Hong Kong and Swiss bank accounts, shell companies and a St. Kitts and Nevis trust to transfer the bribe proceeds to purchase the two properties.

"After many years of collaborative work, we are happy to return these funds to their rightful owners," said Peter Edge, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations in the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

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