Taiwan ex-spy chief cleared of corruption charge
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 23:38
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

First Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 23:38

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