TAIPEI – Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou was officially charged with breach of trust and economic irregularities while approving sales of assets owned by his party Kuomintang, the Taipei prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.
The Kuomintang (KMT) party had accumulated huge wealth in the form of cash, securities and real estate during its rule from 1949-2000, which according to the opposition were largely illegal appropriations, including to favor members or friends in Ma’s party.
The prosecutors said they found illegalities in the sale of companies Hua Hsia Investment Holding (2005), China Television (2006) and the building of the former headquarters of the KMT in Taipei, also in 2006.
The sale of Central Motion Picture and the China Broadcasting Corporation (BCC), both in 2006, are also under scanner.
All these transactions were made when Ma was president of the KMT and, according to prosecutors, he approved sales at prices below the market value, “to get rid of the assets,” which would otherwise have been confiscated.
The KMT called the accusations as “surprise attack” and the prosecutors as “political assassins” that tarnish judicial independence and the justice system.
Ma, through his spokesperson, said he was “not surprised” by the accusation, although he felt very “angry” about the political use of the judiciary by the current Progressive Democratic Party government.
On May 15, Ma, who was president of Taiwan from 2008 to 2016 and helped ease tensions between Beijing and Taipei, was handed four months in jail for leaking information related to national security, and had filed an appeal against the sentence.
Ma, who was also KMT president from 2009-2014, was also let off in several graft cases, over lack of evidence.