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Son-in-law of Taiwan Leader Gets 6 Years
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The son-in-law of Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian was sentenced to six years in prison for insider trading, a court spokesman said yesterday.

Chao Chien-ming, a doctor suspended by the Taiwan University Hospital over the scandal, was also fined 30 million Taiwan dollars (US$917,000) following the verdict by a court in Taipei.

He was convicted of making gains valued at 4.27 million Taiwan dollars (US$131,000) through the illegal deal, said Liu Shou-song of the Taipei district court. 

Chao's father Chao Yu-chu was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in the same case and was given a further three years in jail for embezzling 11 million Taiwan dollars (US$336,000) in private donations to a tennis association and some political funds donated to the "president." He was also fined 30 million Taiwan dollars, Liu said.

The verdict is the latest blow to Chen Shui-bian, whose wife is on trial on corruption and forgery charges for allegedly embezzling 14.8 million Taiwan dollars (US$450,000) from "state" funds for personal use.

Chao and his father did not show up at the court and are expected to appeal against the rulings.

"Chao Chien-ming failed to behave decently... using his power and influence to seek personal gains," the verdict said.

Prosecutors had originally sought a nine-year jail term for Chao and a 10-year prison sentence for his father for making illegal gains through insider trading.

Five other defendants involved in the same scandal received jail terms ranging from 18 months to four years and three months.

Both the opposition and Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said they respected the ruling.

Lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said he applauded the court for giving a tough sentence.

"This shows that the court is fair and just and is unaffected by those in power," he said.

Chao was arrested in May on suspicion of insider trading and taking bribes and was later released on bail.

Chen has apologized for the political turmoil caused by his son-in-law but he himself was later implicated in graft scandals centred on his wife.

Chen's wheelchair-bound wife Wu Shu-chen was excused from the second hearing of her trial last week after doctors at the Taiwan University Hospital, where she is being treated, advised her not to go.

The corruption charge against her carries a minimum jail term of seven years.

Chen has also been accused of involvement in the case, but escaped immediate prosecution because of "presidential" immunity. He has pledged to resign if Wu is convicted.

Last month, Chen survived a third "parliamentary" vote aimed at ousting him after the opposition failed to garner enough support.

(China Daily December 28, 2006)

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