The Taipei District Court yesterday acquitted former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in a case in which he was charged with embezzling state funds.
Lee’s aide, Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英), was sentenced to two years, eight months on charges of embezzlement of public property and deprived of his civil rights for three years, the ruling said.
The Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on June 30, 2011, indicted Lee and Liu, accusing them of siphoning off US$7.8 million in secret diplomatic funds to set up the Taiwan Research Institute.
The district court said there was no evidence that showed Lee knew where the diplomatic funds went and that he was involved in the matter.
It added that Liu was in charge of embezzling the funds to establish the Taiwan Research Institute, but since none of the funds went to Liu and the institute had returned the money to the government, the court handed Liu a lenient sentence.
Liu could appeal the ruling with the Taiwan High Court, it added.
Lee’s lawyer, Wellington Koo (顧立雄), said that Lee’s indictment had been unreasonable.
The evidence presented in Lee’s indictment was identical to that in the case against former National Security Bureau chief accountant Hsu Ping-chiang (徐炳強). Hsu was found not guilty, so there was no reason to indict Lee for the same offense, Koo added.
Koo said the trial had been “torture” for 90-year-old Lee, adding he hoped the SID would not waste legal resources by appealing the case to the high court.
The SID said it would decide whether to appeal the case after studying the ruling.
The trial was held behind closed doors because the proceedings contained discussions of sensitive national security issues. The ruling document is also classified.