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Taiwan court verdict for ex-Cabinet official under fire

Prosecutors study appeal against Lin verdict

Taiwan court verdict for ex-Cabinet official under fire

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Justice and prosecutors said Wednesday that former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih could still face stiffer punishment from higher courts after a first verdict deemed by many as too light.
The Taipei District Court sentenced Lin to seven years and four years in prison but found him not guilty of corruption, despite prosecutors having requested a life sentence on four charges.
Media and politicians described the verdict as ‘light,’ especially since Lin’s wife, mother and two uncles were also found not guilty of money laundering related to his case.
The ruling Kuomintang politician was accused of demanding NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) from Ti Yung Corp. chairman Chen Chi-hsiang in return for a contract with the state-controlled China Steel Corporation Group. After his promotion from lawmaker to secretary-general of the Executive Yuan in early 2012, he reportedly asked for a further NT$83 million (US$2.8 million) in return for the continuation of the contract, but Chen refused to pay and took his story to Next Magazine, which published the story in June.
Vice Justice Minister Wu Chen-huan said Wednesday that if prosecutors did not agree with the sentences and filed an appeal, the eventual verdict by the Taiwan High Court might be completely different. He said he was confident the prosecutors would study the court documents and decide whether or not to agree and to file an appeal or not.
Lin’s attorney welcomed the decision by the court to find Lin not guilty of corruption, but he said he would appeal the two other charges, using his position to threaten people in order to receive benefits and holding funds from unidentified sources. The court also fined Lin NT$15.8 million (US$535,000).
The Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division said the verdict was far out of sync with the general feeling inspired by the law, but a first verdict in the case would not necessarily remain the same once the final verdict was under consideration.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus said the light sentence was unacceptable. Right from the start of the case, the investigation had met with limits and with ‘red lines’ beyond which it could not reach, senior lawmaker Pan Men-an said. As a result, the court came up with a verdict which protected corruption, he said.
Opposition members threw doubt on the impartiality of the court, saying it was harsh when DPP leaders were in the dock but seemed to come up with far more lenient verdicts when KMT politicians were facing trial.
Critics drew a comparison between the case of former President Chen Shui-bian, who is spending 20 years in jail for corruption, and Lin’s verdict.
Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said the court decision did not correspond to society’s expectations and was not an appropriate punishment for Lin’s crimes.
The former Cabinet official was not in court for the verdict Tuesday, but he later appeared for his daily registration at a local police office. Reports said he seemed relatively upbeat because of the unexpectedly light sentences. The politician acknowledged having received money, but described the sums as payments for service to electoral constituents.
Other prominent KMT politicians to face trial on corruption charges include former Nantou County Magistrate Lee Chao-ching and former Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ru. The latter served as manager of President Ma Ying-jeou’s office as KMT chairman, making her alleged involvement in a bribing scandal even more damaging to his image as a clean politician.


Updated : 2021-10-20 08:36 GMT+08:00