Taiwan ex-President Ma appears at final trial over leaking of confidential information

No appeals will be possible after High Court verdict

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Ex-President Ma Ying-jeou arriving in court Friday morning.

Ex-President Ma Ying-jeou arriving in court Friday morning. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Friday attended a Taiwan High Court session in the final stage of the trial focusing on his alleged leaking of confidential information from a judicial investigation.

In 2013, Ma came out with allegations about influence peddling by then-Legislative Speaker and fellow Kuomintang (KMT) politician Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on behalf of senior Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘). The incident triggered a major crisis within the KMT but also led to accusations that Ma had illegally revealed information from the judicial investigation into the case which should have remained confidential.

The Taipei District Court found Ma not guilty, but the Taiwan High Court sentenced him to four years in prison. The Supreme Court however sent the verdict back for reconsideration, and after the next High Court decision, no appeals will be possible anymore.

Ma and Ker both appeared at the court session Friday morning. The former president argued that he revealed the case to his premier and an aide because they needed to be prepared for when a political crisis would erupt over the allegations against Wang. According to Ma, both the District Court verdict and the Supreme Court’s disagreement with the High Court ruling showed that he was innocent.

Ker told the judge that there had been no question of influence peddling, with Wang only telling him that prosecutors would not continue the case against him, the Apple Daily reported. The president had not been interested in justice and fairness, but in using the case in a politically motivated struggle against Wang, according to Ker’s attorney.