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Taiwan ex-President Ma acquitted of leaking confidential info

In this March 30, 2016 file photo, Taiwan's outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou, right, shake hands with President-elect Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei. (Kyodo)

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- The Taiwan High Court on Friday reversed its earlier conviction of former President Ma Ying-jeou for leaking confidential information while in office in 2013, finding him not guilty in a final judgement.

In May last year the same court, overturning a lower court's decision in August 2017, found him guilty and sentenced him to four months in prison.

Ma appealed to the Supreme Court, which in January this year revoked that conviction and ordered a new trial.

He was convicted of leaking in 2013 to then Premier Jiang Yi-huah details of an ongoing investigation involving then legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

The court on Friday ruled that Ma did not take the initiative to seek the confidential information. Although the way Ma handled the matter could be deemed as a dereliction of duty, he did not violate the Criminal Code, the Personal Information Protection Act and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act, it said.

Ma was not present at the court's ruling, but his office released a statement thanking the court for clarifying presidential authority under the Constitution.

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