Chen not guilty of inducing false testimony: court
CNATAIPEI--Former President Chen Shui-bian was found not guilty by the Taiwan High Court Friday of inducing his aides to give false testimony to prosecutors looking into his alleged misuse of a special state affairs fund.
August 18, 2012, 12:40 am TWN
The High Court's ruling overturned one handed down by the Taipei District Court in July 2011, in which Chen was sentenced to two months in jail on charges of abetting Ma Yung-cheng and Lin Teh-hsun — who headed Chen's office at different times during his tenure from 2000 to 2008 — to make untrue statements.
The district court found that Chen asked the pair to tell prosecutors that the state affairs fund went to secret diplomatic operations rather than into the first family's pockets.
Also, Chen wanted them to deny that his wife, Wu Shu-jen, had ever used invoices provided by other people to claim reimbursements from the fund, according to the lower court.
Lin was sentenced to two months by the Supreme Court in November 2011 for perjury, while Ma was not indicted in the case.
The High Court, however, found that before Lin gave his testimony on Aug. 8, 2006, the prosecutors did not inform him that he had the right to refuse to testify.
Under these circumstances, it did not constitute perjury even if Lin lied to prosecutors that day, the high court said.
Moreover, there was not any evidence proving that Chen had instructed Lin and Ma to give false testimony, the court said.
Chen is currently serving a 17.5-year sentence for taking bribes in a land development project and for influencing the appointment of a chairwoman of the Taipei 101 tower.
In August 2011, the high court ruled that Chen was not guilty of embezzling the state affairs fund, although he was given an extra 10-month prison term for his role in using fraudulent receipts to obtain reimbursements for expenditures from the special fund. The prosecution is currently appealing the verdict.