Taiwan's High Court decided Thursday that former President Chen Shui-bian should remain in detention because he could flee if released pending his appeal of his conviction on corruption charges.
Chen has been detained in a Taipei jail since late 2008, and was sentenced to life in prison by the Taipei District Court earlier this month after being found guilty of embezzling $3.15 million during his 2000-2008 presidency from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9 million, and laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts.
Earlier this week, he was indicted on new charges that he pocketed US$330,000 from foreign affairs funds for personal use.
The High Court decided to keep Chen in detention for a further three months after a hearing Thursday, spokesman Wen Yao-yuan said.
After reviewing the case documents, "the court reckoned that he is still hiding huge amount of assets overseas ... and he is likely to flee (Taiwan) if free," Wen said. "So the court has decided to continue his detention."
Chen is appealing his sentence, but no trial date has been set by the high court.
Chen has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has charged that he is being prosecuted for his anti-China views by the administration of current President Ma Ying-jeou. Ma, who has been eager to improve ties with Beijing, has denied the accusation.