Taiwan ex-spy chief cleared of corruption charge

Chiou I-jen was cleared on Tuesday of embezzling diplomatic funds.

Taipei: Taiwan`s ex-spy chief and right-hand
man of jailed former President Chen Shui-bian was cleared
on Tuesday of embezzling diplomatic funds during Chen`s term in
office, a court said.

Chiou I-jen, a former head of the National Security
Bureau, was acquitted of pocketing USD 500,000, earmarked for
expanding Taiwan`s participation in international affairs in
2005, due to a lack of evidence.

The Taipei district court said the money went to an
unidentified third party.

This is the latest in a series of legal victories for
Chen and former top officials in his government.

The ex-president is currently serving a prison term of 17
years and six months on two bribery convictions.

Former vice foreign minister Kao Ying-mao was also
cleared of being an accomplice in the case, the court said.

Last week, the high court cleared Chen of one corruption
charge related to embezzling government funds, although he was
still sentenced to an additional two years and ten months on
charges of money laundering and forgery.

In a separate case, the ex-leader was cleared of alleged
misuse of diplomatic funds during official overseas trips he
made as President.

Chen and family members have been accused in a complex
network of cases that say they sent political donations and
secret diplomatic funds abroad, laundered millions of US
dollars and took kickbacks on government contracts.

Chen insists that the legal action against him is a
vendetta carried out by Taiwan`s Beijing-friendly government
in retaliation for his pro-independence stance while in power.

Only 23 countries formally recognise self-ruled Taiwan
over China.

When ties hit rock-bottom during Chen`s two terms between
2000 and 2008, both sides were accused of using hefty
financial aid to lure allies away from each other.

Bureau Report

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