Taiwan’s high court on Friday cleared former president Chen Shui-bian of one charge of instigating perjury in the latest legal victory for the jailed ex-leader. Chen was accused of instructing a top aide to give false statements to prosecutors during an investigation into the sprawling corruption allegations against him stemming from his 2000-2008 presidency.
However, Chen was found not guilty as some of the aide’s statements were proven true while others were either deemed irrelevant or not instigated by Chen, a court statement said. The verdict is the latest victory for the ex-leader, who is serving a prison term of 17 years and six months on two bribery convictions, with more trials pending on other charges.
In June, a district court rejected a compensation claim against him in a land purchase deal and he was acquitted of misusing diplomatic funds in a separate case last year. Chen and family members have been accused in a complex network of laundering millions of US dollars by sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, and taking kickbacks on government contracts. Chen insists that the legal action against him is a vendetta carried out by Taiwan’s current Beijing-friendly government in retaliation for his pro-independence stance while in power.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012