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Former Taiwan President Detained in Graft Case


Taiwan's ex-president Chen Shui-bian was taken into custody after six hours of questioning. The former first family is accused of sending millions of dollars to overseas bank accounts while Chen was president.

Chen lifted his hands in the air outside the Supreme Court prosecutor's office to show his handcuffs then shouted "political persecution." He was then pushed into a waiting car and driven to a Taipei district courthouse. The anti-China firebrand, president from 2000 until May of 2008, is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in government funds while in office.

Earlier in the day he predicted he would be taken into custody.

Mr. Chen said 22 years ago he was a political prisoner and today he is going back to a political prison.

Chen and his wife are suspected of sending the equivalent of more than 30 million U.S. dollars to overseas accounts in Switzerland, Japan, the United States, Singapore and the Cayman Islands. The money was sent to accounts in the names of his son and daughter. The former first lady is a suspect in a separate graft trial.

Chen supporters have accused the ruling Nationalist Party of pressuring prosecutors to pursue high-level Democratic Progressive Party members since Chen left office in May due to term limits. Chen was famous for rankling Beijing by saying Taiwan is independent.

Current President Ma Ying-jeou is trying to build economic ties with China and downplaying political difference between the two sides. China has viewed Taiwan as a renegade province since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and pledged to bring the island back under its rule, by force if necessary.

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