Former Taiwan leader's indictment brings election intrigue

July 1, 2011 12:40

TAIPEI - The indictment on embezzlement charges of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui will add another layer of uncertainty to elections next year that Beijing will be watching closely.

Lee, hated by China for his pro-independence views, and aide Liu Tai-ying were accused on Thursday of embezzling $7.8 million in national security funds when Lee was in office from 1988 to 2000, according to a statement from prosecutors.

Lee's lawyer has denied the charges.

The indictment comes seven months before a presidential election that is widely seen as a referendum on the future of the island's relations with China, which have improved rapidly since Ma Ying-jeou became president in 2008.

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949. China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratic Taiwan under its control.

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