TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese prosecutors launched a corruption probe against outgoing President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday, hours after he completed eight combative years in office.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office, which reports directly to the Supreme Court, said in a statement that Chen was being investigated for his role in the handling of a special presidential fund used to pursue Taiwan's foreign diplomacy.

"The office has assigned ... a seven-member investigative unit to take charge of the case," it said.

There was no immediate comment from Chen.

The investigation relates the alleged embezzlement of $484,000. Chen's wife was indicted in December 2006 over the fund's handling. At the time, prosecutors said Chen could be indicted once he left office, ending his presidential immunity.

The probe is a further blow to Chen's legacy, already in tatters over the indictment of several members of his inner circle on graft charges, and the conviction of his son-in-law for insider trading.

Taiwanese analysts agree that the atmosphere of corruption pervading the Chen administration was a major reason behind the defeat of his Democratic Progressive Party in legislative elections in January and its loss in the presidential poll in March.

Chen was replaced Tuesday by Ma Ying-jeou, who used his inaugural address to pledge himself to clean politics and public accountability.