Ex-President Lee Teng-hui appears at High Court
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-19 05:27 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Lee Teng-hui testified at the Taiwan High Court Wednesday after prosecutors appealed against his not-guilty verdict in a corruption case.

The Taipei District Court ruled on November 15 that Lee had not diverted US$7.79 million (NT$250 million) in national security funds in order to buy offices for his Taiwan Research Institute in Tamshui, New Taipei City. A former close associate, Liu Tai-ying, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Arriving at the High Court one hour early Wednesday morning, Lee repeated to the media that he was innocent and never took any money. Liu, who arrived separately, did not say a word to reporters.

The ex-president’s attorney, Wellington Koo, reportedly said Lee was upset by the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) to appeal last year’s not-guilty verdict. The district court had taken a long time reviewing the case and had summoned many witnesses, so if there was no new evidence now, the appeal did not make sense, Koo said. He added that because of the not-guilty verdict, the 90-year-old former head of state could face the new hearings without too much worry or loss of sleep.

Wednesday’s hearing lasted about one hour, with Liu, 77, leaving first and Lee coming out about 15 minutes later. He told reporters he was feeling healthy.

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 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.

When prosecutors announced last December they would appeal, 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.

Lee’s attorney, Koo, is one of several members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party vying for the party’s nomination for mayor of Taipei City in the November 29 election.

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