Taiwan’s Ex-Leader Lee Cleared of Embezzlement, Money Laundering

Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui avoided becoming the island’s second leader to serve jail time after he was found not guilty of money laundering and embezzling government funds.

The Taipei District Court found no evidence that Lee embezzled $7.5 million of secret national-security funds, the court said in a statement on its website today.

The 90 year old was president of Taiwan from 1988 to 2000, becoming the island’s first directly elected leader in 1996. Lee is known as “Mr. Democracy” for his role in democratizing Taiwan by bringing in direct elections for parliament and the presidency.

Chen Shui-bian, 62, who ended the Nationalist’s half a century rule in Taiwan, is serving a 20-year jail term after being convicted of accepting bribes. Chen was Taiwan President between 2000 and 2008.

Lee’s aide Liu Tai-Yin, was found guilty of embezzlement of public funds and was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail, according to today’s court statement.

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