July 16, 2010
WASHINGTON, July 15 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Justice Department has filed civil complaints with federal courts, seeking seizure of the two housing properties of former Taiwan leader Chen Shui-Bian and his wife, Wu Shu-Chen, in the United States.
The complaints were filed Wednesday with the federal courts in the states of New York and Virginia. The department provided evidence that the two housing properties had been bought with illegal money paid to the former Taiwan leader.
The Justice Department alleged that Wu had resorted to the bank accounts of the shell companies controlled by her son Chen Chih-Chung to launder some of the bribes from Switzerland to the United States. She then used the money to purchase housing properties in Manhattan and at Keswick.
Laura Sweeney, spokeswoman for the justice department, said that if her department succeeded in seizing the Chen housing properties, it would auction them.
Part of the auction proceeds will be returned to Taiwan while some of the proceeds will be included into a fund for seized real estates, the spokeswoman added.
“This serves as a warning to those corrupt officials who abuse their power for personal financial gains and then attempt to place those funds in the U.S. financial system,” said John Morton, director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Department of Homeland Security.
“ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations agents will continue to work with our law enforcement partners both here and abroad to investigate and prosecute those involved in such illicit activities and hold corrupt officials accountable by denying them the enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains,” Morton added.
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