Asia

Taiwan ex-president Ma found innocent of secrets leak, libel

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou greets supporters of the ruling KMT or Nationalist Party presidential candidate Eric Chu at a campaign rally in Taipei, Taiwan, before the Jan. 16 presidential election. Taiwan's China-friendly former President Ma has been found innocent of libel and leaking confidential information in a case involving suspected influence peddling by a powerful lawmaker. The Taipei District Court found Ma innocent on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Ma, a U.S.-educated legal scholar, had denied the charges. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou greets supporters of the ruling KMT or Nationalist Party presidential candidate Eric Chu at a campaign rally in Taipei, Taiwan, before the Jan. 16 presidential election. Taiwan's China-friendly former President Ma has been found innocent of libel and leaking confidential information in a case involving suspected influence peddling by a powerful lawmaker. The Taipei District Court found Ma innocent on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Ma, a U.S.-educated legal scholar, had denied the charges. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan's China-friendly former President Ma Ying-jeou has been found innocent of libel and leaking confidential information in a case involving suspected influence peddling by a powerful lawmaker.

The Taipei District Court found Ma innocent on Tuesday. Ma, a U.S.-educated legal scholar, had denied the charges.

Ma was credited with substantially improving Taiwan's relations with rival China during his two terms in office from 2008 to 2016.

His Nationalist Party lost both the presidency and its parliamentary majority to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in elections in January last year.

The charges against Ma stemmed from a 2013 lawsuit brought by Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming alleging that the then-president leaked information from a wiretapped conversation featuring powerful Nationalist lawmaker Wang Jin-pyng.