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US gives Taiwan US$1.5m from property bought by ex-leader's family

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The United States said on Thursday it was returning about US$1.5 million to Taiwan that came from the sale of US properties the government alleges were bought with the proceeds of bribes paid to the family of former Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian.

[WASHINGTON] The United States said on Thursday it was returning about US$1.5 million to Taiwan that came from the sale of US properties the government alleges were bought with the proceeds of bribes paid to the family of former Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian.

According to complaints filed in the case, Yuanta Securities Co Ltd paid a bribe of 200 million New Taiwan dollars, worth about US$6 million, to Mr Chen's wife Wu Shu-Jen in 2004, during his administration, officials from the US Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement.

"The former first family used Hong Kong and Swiss bank accounts, shell companies and a St Kitts and Nevis trust to transfer the bribe proceeds needed to purchase the properties in Keswick, Virginia, and New York," it said.

After US District Courts in Virginia and in New York entered final forfeiture judgments against the two properties in October 2012, the US government sold them for about US$1.5 million, the statement said.

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