(AFP) – Sep 3, 2008
TAIPEI (AFP) — Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian on Wednesday rejected allegations that he embezzled nearly 500,000 US dollars in state funds, telling prosecutors he had done nothing wrong.
"I was not corrupt," Chen told reporters after he was questioned for more than four hours by prosecutors over his alleged wrongdoing.
The questioning came one month after President Ma Ying-jeou declassified documents that allegedly implicate Chen -- mainly receipts and records relating to the former leader's use of special expenses from 2000-2006.
"I did not take money out of the special expenses and put it into my own pockets, nor did I funnel it abroad," Chen said.
Chen is under investigation for allegedly embezzling 14.8 million Taiwan dollars (480,500 US) from the government. He was named as a suspect in the case in 2006 but escaped immediate prosecution due to presidential immunity.
His wife, Wu Shu-chen, is on trial for corruption and document forgery in connection with the same case.
Chen has admitted using false receipts to claim money from the state, but insisted those funds were used for "secret diplomatic missions," not his personal benefit.
Nevertheless, prosecutors found that at least 1.5 million Taiwan dollars had been spent on diamond rings and other luxury items for his wife.
Chen had classified the documents before prosecutors launched a probe against him on May 20 -- the day he left office after his second and final four-year term.
Prosecutors said Ma's declassification of documents would help their case against Chen.
Chen, his wife, son, daughter-in-law and brother-in-law have all been named defendants in a separate money laundering case.
The ex-president has admitted that his wife wired 20 million US dollars abroad from his past campaign funds, but said she had done so without his knowledge. He has denied any wrongdoing in that case as well.
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