Taiwan ex-president Chen found not guilty of misusing funds

[JURIST] The Taipei District Court [official website, in Chinese] on Tuesday found former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] not guilty of embezzling USD $330,000. Chen was indicted in September [JURIST report] for allegedly using funds received from the Foreign Affairs Ministry [official website, in Chinese] for diplomatic trips and using it to finance his son's studies in the US. The court held that the indictment was without credibility [CNA report], was contradictory, and was not supported by the facts presented. Prosecutor General Huang Shyh-ming said that he may appeal to the Taiwan High Court [official websites, in Chinese]. Chen has maintained his innocence, claiming that current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [official website] is using Chen's trial to distance himself from Chen's anti-China views. The High Court is scheduled to rule [Taiwan News report] on charges of money laundering and corruption against Chen's family on Friday. Chen was also indicted in December for allegedly embezzling US$20 million from banks [JURIST report] that sought to protect themselves during Chen's financial reform program.

The September indictment came two weeks after Chen was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] on corruption charges. Chen sought to apply US law in the case, claiming that former colonial power Japan never transferred power over Taiwan to its current government. In October, Taiwan's Constitutional Court [official website, in Chinese] dismissed an appeal [JURIST report] in which Chen claimed his constitutional rights were breached after the judges in his trial were replaced. In August, Chen filed suit [JURIST report] against the judges, accusing them of illegally prolonging his detention. Some legal experts believe that the allegations are evidence that Taiwan needs more accountability reforms [JURIST comment].

 

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