Friday, June 11, 2010

In Taiwan's Corruption Trial of the Ages, Money Talks

Taiwan's high court has ruled on former President Chen Shui-bian's conviction for money laundering, corruption, falsifying documents and accepting bribes. The high court's ruling did not overturn Chen's conviction from a lower court but lessened the penalty of his crimes. The most obvious was to reduce his life imprisonment to 20years in jail. Instead of being deprived of his citizen's rights for life, it is now only ten years.

There were no explanation given for the reduction of penalty which left open the speculation that perhaps Taiwan's judiciary is still hoping to recover the rest of the funds Chen and his family had illicitly absconded and put in overseas accounts.

Chen's family has been remitting funds from various overseas accounts in drips and drabs back to Taiwan apparently as part of the negotiating strategy with Taiwan's judiciary.

The strategy seems to be working. Chen said in court that he can guarantee the return of the remaining 570 million NT dollars held overseas within one week of his release on bail. Nothing subtle about Chen. To him, money has always talked louder than rule of law.

In the court room, Chen's supporters went through the motion of protesting loudly because Chen did not get exoneration but a mere term reduction, albeit with big smiles on their faces.

In Taiwan's peculiar brand of democracy, who knows how many more remittances it will take for Chen to become a free man? He apparently has two more layers of the courts where he can take his plea and by judiciously parcelling out the return of his ill gotten gains, he just might be able to buy his way out of jail.

I am hardly the only person to point out the inconsistency of the latest ruling. See for instance a translation of an editorial of one of Taiwan's major newspaper.


Anonymous said...

This kind of outrage warrants an outraged reaction in response.

Someone ought to blow him away. Except that would only turn him into a martyr. Too good for him.

Also, some cynics have said that would probably please his sleazeball son Chen Chi-chung more than anyone.

He would promptly inherit the hundreds of millions Ah Bian has stashed overseas.

My only consolation is that this sort of development is another nail in the coffin of democracy.

Political disillusionment for mankind happens at a glacial pace.

But every time democracy fails to work as advertised, is a tiny amount of weight shifted to the opposite side of the scale.

Eventually the scale will tip over to where mainstream voters, and not just Free Market Anarchist economists, historians, and political scientists say "Do we really need government?"

Anonymous said...

Taiwan's so-called "democracy" is indeed troubled when its judicial system and processes are being administered capriciously by alleged "judges" who are no more than partisan flacks.
What the "laobaixing" of Taiwan is seeing unfolding before their eyes is that the much vaunted "rule of law" is no more than a sham.
Taiwan is not a "model of democracy" that China mainlanders need to emulate nor imitate.
Taiwan is a kleptocracy, i.e. government of thieves, by thieves, and for thieves.
Ah Bian deserves to be in the same pantheon as Ferdinand Marcos, "Papa Doc" Duvalier (Haiti), Joseph Estrada, all leaders who betrayed their own people and looted their country with reckless abandon and duplicity.