Taiwan has indicted former President Chen Shui-bian on corruption-related charges - the first time a former Taiwanese leader is facing criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors said Friday they will seek "maximum punishment" for Chen on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and forgery. Twelve other people have also been indicted in the case, including Mr. Chen's wife, son and daughter-in-law.

The former president has been detained since November 12 on suspicion of corruption dating back to his eight-year term in office, which ended when he left office in May.

He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are a political plot to appease China. The former president angered Beijing with his calls for independence from the mainland.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war. China continues to claim sovereignty over the self-ruled island.

Mr. Chen pledged to rid Taiwanese politics of corruption when he was elected in 2000.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.