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Taiwan High Court upholds corruption acquittal of opposition leader

[JURIST] The Taiwan High Court [official website] on Friday upheld the acquittal [press release, in Chinese] of former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou [personal website, in Chinese] on graft charges, clearing the way for Ma to run in Taiwan's presidential elections in March 2008. Ma was acquitted earlier this year by a lower court on charges [JURIST reports] that he diverted $333,000 of public money into his private back account. Prosecutors appealed the verdict and brought an additional breach of trust charge against Ma, but were unsuccessful in both efforts. Ma had denied the charges [JURIST report], arguing that the practice was legitimate because he used the money to fund municipal events and pay city employees.

Allegations of corruption have recently been raised against other Taiwanese officials, including Vice President Annette Lu [JURIST report]. She has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to allegations that she claimed 5.6 million Taiwan dollars in special expenses using more than 1,000 false receipts from December 2000 to May 2006 in her capacity as vice president. AP has more.

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