Former Taiwan president cleared of defamation

Former Taiwan president cleared of defamation

Former Taiwan president cleared of defamation

Posted 9 September 2008, 22:37 AEST

A Taiwan court has cleared the former president, Chen Shui-bian, of defamation charges over allegations that the military had received kickbacks in a deal to buy six French-made Lafayette-class frigates in 1991.

Five retired officials had sued Mr Chen for alleging in 2005 they had taken $US20 million in kickbacks in connection with the controversial deal.

In dismissing the case, the Taipei district court said the deal was a public matter which should be subject to scrutiny.

Two lawmakers from the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party were also cleared of the same charges.

A 2001 French judicial probe on the $2.8 billion deal claims much of the money paid by Taiwan went towards commissions to middlemen, politicians and military officers in Taiwan, China and France.