The Taipei District Court yesterday dismissed a case brought by the Hsinchu Science Park Administration in which it was seeking compensation of NT$400 million (US$13.4 million) from former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family.
Chen, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison sentence for corruption, appeared in court for the only civil case among several corruption cases in which he is involved and expressed gratitude for the verdict via his lawyer.
The court said the case was dismissed because the park administration had not proven that it had suffered substantial damage in the case, in which Chen was accused of taking bribes in a government land procurement deal in Longtan (龍潭), Taoyuan County, in 2004.
Lawyer Yeh Shu-hung (葉恕宏), who represented the administration, said the it would discuss whether to appeal.
Quoting the former president, Chen’s lawyer Hung Kuei-tsan (洪貴參) said Chen had expected the verdict and that he expressed his gratitude to the court, as well as everyone who had supported him.
Chen was still complaining of chest pains and was hoping that he would receive appropriate treatment, Hung added.
The court said Chen and former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) did not participate in the negotiations for the land deal, when the total price of NT$860 million was slashed to NT$760 million by the legislature, and there was no evidence to prove Chen had taken kickbacks of NT$400 million, as the administration alleged.
The administration accused Chen of taking the bribes from business tycoon Leslie Koo (辜成允) after the former president demanded that it purchase a plot of land from Koo.
The administration also claimed that it was unable to obtain ownership of the land, an argument dismissed by the court because the land is now transferable.