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Taiwan ex-President Lee complains about appeal
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-07 03:56 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Lee Teng-hui on Saturday complained about a decision by prosecutors to file an appeal against his not-guilty verdict in an embezzlement case.

The Taipei District Court ruled on November 15 that Lee had not diverted national security funds in order to buy offices for his Taiwan Research Institute in Tamshui, New Taipei City.

It was as if the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) could not live without appealing the sentence, Lee told reporters at a public event Saturday. The SID announced earlier in the week it would lodge an appeal with the High Court.

The 90-year-old former president said he was extremely unhappy at being described as corrupt. Society still needs to face thorough reforms before it can be called fair and free, he said.

Lee said he had never pocketed any money but only wanted to do what was good for the nation. He condemned the SID for fishing up old cases in order to prosecute him.

Prosecutors said in 2011 that Lee and Liu Tai-ying, the man who ran the business affairs for the ruling Kuomintang when the president served as its chairman, had siphoned off US$7.79 million (NT$250 million) in public money from a fund destined to strengthen diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1994.

The SID accused Lee and Liu of having laundered the money to buy offices and pay for expenses at the TRI. A third man allegedly involved, National Security Bureau chief Yin Tsung-wen, died in 2003. Another NSB official, Hsu Ping-chiang, was found not guilty in 2006.

While Lee was found not guilty, Liu was sentenced last month to two years and eight months in prison. While he might have faced a prison sentence of 10 years, judges ruled that because he had not pocketed the funds for himself and the money had later been returned to the NSB, the 77-year-old should receive a light sentence.

Lee’s attorney, Wellington Koo, said at the time of the verdict that the SID had no evidence of any misdeeds by Lee, who had only been questioned once about the allegations before charges were brought.

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