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Former first lady sentenced to 9 years for influence peddling

2012/07/26 20:41:51

Taipei, July 26 (CNA) Former first lady Wu Shu-jen was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday by the Supreme Court for influence peddling in a tender for a government-owned business complex in Taipei in 2003.

The Supreme Court also upheld a decision by the High Court to deprive Wu of her civil right for five years.

Wu, the wife of former President Chen Shui-bian, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in the first trail of the case for her role in the Nangang Exhibition Hall matter. In the second trial, she was given a 16-year sentence that was reduced in August 2011 to nine years and a fine of NT$20 million.

The former first lady was indicted on charges of instructing then Interior Minister Yu Cheng-hsien to disclose the base bidding price for part of the building project to businessman Kuo Chuan-ching, who was accused of giving Wu a kickback of NT$90 million (US$2.73 million).

In the sentencing last year, the court said although Wu was not a government official and was therefore not in violation of government anti-corruption laws, she was guilty of using her influence as the wife of the president to commit a crime.

Wu, who is wheelchair-bound, was once a legislator. She and her husband enjoyed a high level of public support during the time when Chen was a city councilor, lawmaker and Taipei mayor, the Supreme Court said in its verdict.

It was after Wu became the first lady of the country that she began using her influence to "sell" the base bidding price information for huge sums, an action that deserves a nine-year sentence, according to the court verdict.

(By Huang Yi-han and S.C. Chang)
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