Chen acquitted on graft charge

Wednesday, 09 June 2010 07:53 Taipei Times

The Taipei District Court yesterday acquitted former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in an embezzlement case involving US$330,000 in secret diplomatic funds.

The court ruling said that evidence provided by prosecutors failed to prove that Chen had embezzled diplomatic funds, court spokesman Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明) said.

The secret diplomatic funds Chen received from the government were used to buy gifts and cover other expenses for foreign persons, which is a regular practice of former and incumbent presidents, Huang said.

The court said prosecutors “suspected” Chen had kept the balance of those diplomatic funds and transferred them to the US accounts of his son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), but failed to offer solid evidence.

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office's Special Investigation Panel (SIP) in September last yearbrought the case to the district court.

Prosecutors alleged that public funds earmarked for diplomatic relations were embezzled by Chen, former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former deputy minister of foreign affairs Michael Kau (高英茂), as well as two others whose bank accounts were used in the process.

The SIP alleges that during 11 foreign visits from August 2000 through September 2006, Chen embezzled US$30,000 each time from the US$100,000 government funds earmarked for improving foreign relations, resulting in embezzlement totaling US$330,000.

Dozens of Chen supporters outside the district court cheered the ruling. They chanted “A-bian go,” and “A-bian not guilty” after the results were announced.

Source: Taipei Times - 2010/06/09

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