WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it was returning about $1.5 million to Taiwan that came from the sale of U.S. 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 $6 million, to Chen's wife Wu Shu-Jen in 2004, during his administration, officials from the U.S. 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 U.S. District Courts in Virginia and in New York entered final forfeiture judgments against the two properties in October 2012, the U.S. government sold them for about $1.5 million, the statement said. 

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)