Taiwan’s scandal-ridden ex-president awaits 8 more possible charges

Ma Ying-jeou was indicted over the handling of classified information in a 2013 case, but there are several other cases being investigated.

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Taipei Dome

Taipei Dome (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan's former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday was indicted over a secrets leak, while Ma is facing more possible charges from his tenure as both the leader of the country between 2008 and 2016, and Taipei City mayor.

After an indictment was issued against Ma over a wiretapping case on Tuesday, eight other cases under investigation against Ma were brought to the attention of the public, including the long-running Taipei Dome dispute, leaking of state secrets regarding the Ma-Xi Meeting, oversight of the Maokong Gondola, unaccounted special expense funds, income from unknown sources, mishandling of Kuomintang party assets, Fubon Bank merger case and National Development Research Institute land purchase scandals.

In 2016, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) accused Ma of unlawfully changing requirements over the Taipei Dome construction project in favor of Farglory Group during his term as Taipei mayor between 1998 and 2006. The change was said to have violated the spirit of BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects. The Taipei District Prosecutors Office began the case in early 2016 and summoned stakeholders to the office.

Lawyer Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) filed a complaint with prosecutors in November 2016 accusing Ma of leaking confidential details of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jingping (習近平) in Singapore in late 2015 at a school forum a year later regarding the arrangements for his meeting.

In 2015, a Kuomintang member and attorney Wang Ko-fu (王可富) filed a breach of trust against Ma along with 12 other former Kuomintang leaders for a drastic decline of party assets in the period between 2000 and 2006.

Among the cases is a high-profile corruption lawsuit against Ma over Fubon Bank's merger with Taipei Bank, which resulted in the formation of Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank in 2002 while Ma was serving as mayor of Taipei. Ma was said to have helped Fubon make more than NT$30 billion in undue financial profit through the acquisition. Ma insisted that he has never received political contributions from Fubon in return.

Another corruption lawsuit against Ma involves a real estate deal in which a son of a landlord, who was forced to sell land in a suburb Taipei to the Kuomintang four decades ago, in 2009 accused then-Kuomintang Chairman Ma of creating favorable conditions for a certain conglomerate to profit when he was a mayor. The land was sold to a land developer in 2005, who saw the value of the property nearly double in four years.

Another lawsuit against Ma during his term as city mayor involved Maokong Gondola. A private citizen filed a suit against Ma for failing to supervise the construction of the gondola project that resulted in shoddy workmanship on the city's only cable car line on the mountain.

In 2007, the Taiwan High Court cleared Ma of graft charges with the court ruling that the NT$11 million in special expense funds Ma had failed to account for during his term as Taipei mayor should be considered a supplement to his official salary.