Taiwan ex-President Ma to appear in court over Taipei Dome

Case to center on alleged favoring of construction company

Ex-President Ma Ying-jeou at previous court appearance. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will appear in court Wednesday morning but deny he had favored businesses in the design for the build-operate-transfer process for the Taipei Dome (大巨蛋), reports said.

Ma’s office denied he would be listed as a defendant in the case, which originated with the period that he served as mayor of Taipei City between 1998 and 2006.

The Taipei Dome is a 40,000-seat sports complex which has not been completed due to conflicts between the main contractor, the Farglory Group (遠雄), and the Taipei City administration of Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who came to office in 2014.

Last year, a clean politics commission at the city government handed relevant files to the judiciary, where the Taipei District Prosecutors Office took charge of the investigation into any illegal practices with the Taipei Dome contracts.

The commission said Ma had a meeting with Farglory Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), which eventually led to an agreement between the city and the builder that the latter could forego making some rights payments to the former.

Ma’s critics said this is a clear example of a government leader forsaking the rights of the public in favor of corporate interests.

Since leaving office in May last year, Ma has faced several legal cases, though most of them concentrate on his power struggle with former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in 2013 and 2014.