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Taiwan prosecutors to appeal ex-leader's acquittal
Associated Press
2010-11-07 04:23 PM
Taiwanese prosecutors said Sunday they will appeal a court's decision to acquit Taiwan's former president on charges he took bribes from two bankers.

On Friday, Taipei District Court said it found no evidence showing Chen Shui-bian took 600 million New Taiwan dollars ($20 million) in exchange for promises not to block the bankers' separate mergers initiated by Cathay Bank and Yuanta Securities Co.

Executives claimed the funds were political donations.

On Sunday, prosecution spokesman Chen Hung-ta told reporters that prosecutors working on the case could not agree with the court's findings and will appeal soon.

Current President Ma Ying-jeou appeared to question the court's decision as well.

"The judiciary needs to be independent but it cannot be isolated from society or betray public expectations," Ma said.

Chen Shui-bian governed Taiwan from 2000 to 2008, and has already been convicted on separate corruption charges.

He was found guilty in September 2009 by the Taipei District Court of embezzling $3.15 million from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9 million, and laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts. He has been held in a suburban Taipei jail since December 2008.

His sentence was reduced from life to 20 years by an appeals court in June, but he is making another appeal to a higher court.

The former leader has steadfastly maintained his innocence, insisting that he is the victim of efforts by Ma to punish him for his pro-independence views.

Since he became president two years ago, Ma has moved rapidly to improve relations with mainland China, from which Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949.

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