Fri, March 27, 2009
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Ex-Taiwan leader in graft trial

2009-03-27 02:32:34 GMT2009-03-27 10:32:34 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian has gone on trial accused of a series of corruption charges that he has dismissed as a political plot.

Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian is taken from prison to court to stand trial for corruption.

The 58-year-old has been in jail on remand since December and faces multiple charges that could jail him for life if convicted.

He's accused of embezzlement, taking bribes, forgery and money laundering during his eight years in office.

Chen strongly denies the charges and insists he's the victim of a witch-hunt because of his pro-independence stance and opposition to China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan.

His lawyer said the trial would prove his client's innocence.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHEN'S LAWYER CHENG WEN-LONG SAYING:

"The former president Chen has no connection with these important witnesses, he has nothing to do with this corruption case, and we are going to prove it."

Chen's wife, son and daughter in-law have all pleaded guilty to money laundering already in a case that's gripped Taiwan for months.

Helen Long, Reuters.

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