TAIPEI–A district court cleared Chiayi County Magistrate Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠) of charges that she accepted bribes during her time as a legislator from 2002 to 2008.
Chang called the not guilty verdict “belated justice.”
The Democratic Progressive Party member had been charged with accepting NT$30 million (US$990,818) in bribes from Pan Chung-hao, chairman of Chun Lung Development Co., in 2005 and 2006 to help Pan secure a county government project and get an extension on a bank loan.
Chiayi County was planning at the time to build an herbal medicine biotechnology park on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.
Local prosecutors concluded their investigation into the allegations in August 2013 and charged Chang with violating the Anti-Corruption Act and Money Laundering Control Act, asking the court for the “harshest punishment” allowed.
Chang argued that Pan had lent the money to her late husband Tseng Chen-nung and that the money was given to Tseng, but it did not constitute a bribe.