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SID to appeal not-guilty verdict on former president
Central News Agency
2013-12-02 11:36 PM
Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) A special investigation unit under the Supreme Prosecutors Office said Monday that it has decided to appeal a court ruling that found former President Lee Teng-hui not guilty in an embezzlement and money laundering case. The Taipei District Court ruled on Nov. 15 that Lee, who was president from 1988 to 2000, did not know the details of how money was moved under a secret account being handled by the National Security Bureau (NSB) and did not give instructions related to the account. But the Special Investigation Division (SID) argued that the court's findings did "not conform to the facts" because those in charge of the secret fund had to get "prior" consent from Lee before using it, and the amount involved was so big that Lee had to have been aware of the movement of the funds. Lee and his prot嶲? Liu Tai-ying, were indicted in June 2011 after the SID discovered that US$7.79 million from a secret presidential discretionary fund was diverted in the 1990s to set up and finance the Taiwan Research Institute, a private research organization founded by Liu in 1992. The SID said related documents showed that the institute needed large injections of funds, explaining the defendants' motive in embezzling the money. It also argued that Lee knew about the organization's funding needs. The former president is currently the honorary chairman of the institute while his daughter is the deputy head of the organization. The court ruling last month also did not take into consideration several statements made by Hsu Ping-chiang, a National Security Bureau official who was in charge of the bureau's accounting department, the SID. It referred only to Hsu's first statement in which he said he could not be sure if Lee had prior knowledge of matter. The case traces all the way back to May 1994 when Lee visited South Africa and promised a US$10.5 million donation to the country to solidify bilateral ties. Lee then said that if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not draw the funds from its own budget, they could be provided through a secret account run by the NSB. The NSB asked the Foreign Ministry to return the money in September 1998, and in February 1999, then Foreign Affairs Minister Jason Hu remitted US$10.7 million to an overseas account of the NSB. After the money was received, Hsu asked his subordinate Liu Kuan-chun to buy 7,500 traveler's checks worth US$1,000 each and withdraw another US$294,545 in cash. Hsu then sent the money to Liu, then chairman of the China Development Industrial Bank, prosecutors said. Liu pocketed 150 traveler's checks and the cash for his own use and gave the remaining traveler's checks to Samuel Yin, a tycoon and a former student, to convert into cash and donate to the Taiwan Research Institute under the name of individuals or corporations, according to prosecutors. (By Liu Shih-yi and Lilian Wu)
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