Sat, Nov 14, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Former officials found not guilty in military leak case

Staff writer, with CNA

Two former government officials under the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Thursday were found not guilty of leaking military information in a final ruling by the Supreme Court.

Former vice premier Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former defense minister Tsai Ming-shian (蔡明憲) were found not guilty, after they were indicted by prosecutors in August last year on charges of breaching the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).

The indictment came after Chiou was found in possession of classified documents regarding national security and confidential military information at his home in 2008, when prosecutors were searching his home to collect evidence for another case related to Chen. At the time, Chiou had stepped down from his post as vice premier.

During Chen’s administration from 2000 to 2008, Chiou had served in several different posts, including vice premier, secretary-general of the National Security Council and secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

The classified documents were related to an investigation into the disbanded private arms firm Taiwan Goal, that had received investment from various government agencies, including the Ministry of National Defense.

At the time, Chiou said that it was then-defense minister Tsai who gave him the documents.

Chiou and Tsai were indicted on charges of leaking and collecting confidential military information, in breach of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act.

However, they were found not guilty due to a lack of sufficient evidence, the Supreme Court ruling said, which upheld a previous decision by the Taiwan High Court.

Chiou’s confession during the interrogation was contradictory and the evidence available was not enough to prove that Tsai gave the documents to Chiou deliberately, the court said.

The court added that it could not rule out the possibility that Chiou acquired the classified documents during his tenure as vice premier and mistakenly took them home from his Executive Yuan office after stepping down as vice premier.

The documents were only a partial report of the Taiwan Goal case, not a complete investigation report, the court said.

The launch of Taiwan Goal drew speculation as to whether it had been registered as a private firm to avoid legislative oversight, although most of its funding was believed to have come from the defense ministry or state-owned companies.

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