Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) Former Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) Director-General Yeh Sheng-mao was sentenced to 16 months in prison for concealing a government file, the Taiwan High Court said Thursday.
A panel of three judges at the court ruled that Yeh, while head of the bureau, turned over information on family members of former President Chen Shui-bian laundering money overseas, allowing the former first family time to make other arrangements.
Yeh's deed has seriously undermined the credibility of judicial institutes and the image of the nation, the judges said.
However, considering the fact that Yeh has shown deep remorse for his deed, the judges said they decided to hand down a jail sentence of only 16 months. The ruling can still be appealed.
At the center of the money laundering case was a report delivered to the MJIB in January 2008 through the International anti-money laundering organization Egmont Group. In the report, the Cayman Island's financial intelligence unit raised the suspicion that the former first family was laundering money through an account created under the name of Chen's daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching at the Merrill Lynch Bank in Geneva, Switzerland.
Based on the report, the bureau 's anti-Money Laundering Center on Jan. 29, 2008 compiled a file intended for delivery to the Supreme Prosecutors Office.
Yeh later requested that the file be handed over to him, saying that he would pass it to State Public Prosecutor General Chen Tsung-ming in person.
However, instead of giving the file to Chen Tsung-ming, Yeh leaked its contents to Chen Shui-bian during a visit to the former president's official residence.
Yeh was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Taipei District Court for mishandling money laundering intelligence and a separate case of alleged influence peddling implicating a legislator.
The sentence was reduced to six years by the high court.
The high court found Yeh guilty of concealing a government file, for which he was given a prison sentence of three years and nine months, which Yeh later appealed.
The conviction for confidential information leakage was final. Yeh was given two and a half years in prison.
Yeh began to serve his sentence for confidential information leakage in July 2011. He was released Sept. 13 on parole.
(By Huang Yi-han and Lilian Wu)