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DOJ gives Taiwan bribe money paid to former president’s family

The Department of Justice said Thursday it is returning about $1.5 million to Taiwan that came from the sale of a forfeited New York condo and a Virginia home bought with bribe money paid to the family of Taiwan’s former president.

The DOJ alleged in civil forfeiture complaints that Yuanta Securities Co. Ltd. paid about $6 million in bribes to former First Lady Wu Shu-Jen in 2004, when her husband Chen Shui-Bian was president.

The bribe was intended to ensure that the president would support Yuanta’s bid to buy a financial holding company, the DOJ said.

Chen was in office from 2000 until 2008.

In 2009, he and his wife were convicted of bribery. Chen was sentenced to 19 years in Taipei Prison. He was granted medical parole in early 2015.

The former first family used Hong Kong and Swiss bank accounts, shell companies, and a St. Kitts and Nevis trust to transfer the bribe proceeds they used to buy the properties in Keswick, Virginia and New York, according to the complaints.  

They owned the U.S. properties through two limited liability companies. 

In October 2012, federal courts in Virginia and in New York entered final forfeiture judgments against the two properties. 

The DOJ then sold the properties for about $1.5 million.

Leslie Caldwell, chief of the DOJ’s criminal division, said Thursday: “The Kleptocracy Initiative was established to prevent corrupt leaders from using the United States as a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains.”

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016

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