Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Taiwan prosecutors charge former judge for corruption

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The Taipei Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office has charged former judge Chen Mei-chin with financial fraud, possessing assets of unknown origin and other breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act.

The indictment was made public earlier this week, after the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption launched an investigation in response to allegations that Chen took bribes and falsified records to obtain overtime pay, starting in 2012 when he was a judge at the Shilin District Court.

From 2012 to 2018, allegations were made that Chen persistently contravened the code of conduct for judges by meeting defense lawyers in private to discuss their cases and the bribes Chen allegedly required to make a decision in their favor.

Whistle-blowers alleged that defense lawyers sometimes took Chen out at night, paying for sex services for him.

Agency Against Corruption investigators said they found that Chen received a total of NT$15.37 million (US$540,113) in bribes up until 2018, including money from unknown and undeclared origin that was transferred into Chen’s and his wife’s bank accounts at various intervals.

When questioned, Chen denied any wrongdoing, saying that the money came from credit loans, income from rental of housing properties, the sale of luxury-brand alcohol and contributions from people at his mother’s funeral service.

He also said that he helped a friend to buy luxury watches with his credit card and the friend had later paid him back.

Chen’s claims are not credible and did not match his financial transactions, investigators said, adding that he could not explain the situation and just said that he had forgotten how the transactions came about.

Chen worked as a lawyer after he was removed as a judge in June 2019, when the Judicial Yuan found that he had once falsified records to receive overtime pay of NT$6,136, and sexual harassment complaints were made against him.

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