Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday made his first court appearance for a pre-trial procedure after he was indicted on charges of embezzling state funds on June 30 last year.
Lee told reporters outside the Taipei District Court after the 30-minute-long proceedings he had “full confidence” that his innocence and integrity would prevail because the prosecution’s case was “groundless.”
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) on June 30 last year indicted Lee and his aide Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英), accusing the pair of siphoning US$7.8 million to establish the Taiwan Research Institute (TRI) from secret diplomatic funds that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attempted to reallocate between 1998 and 1999.
The proceedings were closed to the public because the case involved confidential diplomatic information.
The next court meeting has been set for Sept. 21, which would also be a pre-trial procedure due to the complexity of the case and Liu’s lawyers requesting more time to review case files and documents.
Lee said he hoped the trial would start as soon as possible because it had already taken too long for the case to come to trial.
The 89-year-old missed a court date on June 22 due to an angina attack.
Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, had previously appeared in court as a witness in the same case.
If convicted, Lee could face at least 10 years in prison, although prosecutors have indicated that they may ask for more lenient sentencing because of his age.