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Taipei prosecutors decide not to indict disgraced diplomat

2012/05/25 21:19:58

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Not enough evidence was found to indict Taiwanese diplomat Jacqueline Liu for abusing her two maids in the United States and violating the criminal code in the process, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said Friday.

The office closed the case and described it as a civil dispute because insufficient evidence was presented to support criminal charges against Liu, who was the former director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City.

Liu was accused of abusing her two Filipino maids in the U.S., and faced potential charges of embezzlement, fraud, and violating Taiwan's Human Trafficking Prevention Act.

Liu had been suspected of embezzlement because she signed a contract with the maids to give them a monthly salary of US$1,240 but only actually paid them US$450 a month.

Prosecutors found, however, that the amount Liu paid was the amount she reported back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for reimbursement, indicating she had not embezzled funds.

As for accusations that Liu's payment of only a fraction of the contracted amount constituted fraud, the maids had agreed to the monthly salary and to have expenses for accommodation, food, and insurance deducted from it, prosecutors said.

Since the maids agreed to the conditions, Liu could not be indicted for fraud, prosecutors said, noting that the circumstances involved were more suited to a civil case than a criminal one.

An investigation by prosecutors also discovered that the US$1,240 contract provided by an official at Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines, who interviewed the maids, was calculated in accordance with the minimum wage in the U.S. and included insurance, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported.

As for human trafficking charges and restricting the maids' freedom of movement with the installation of three surveillance cameras, the cameras had been installed in the house even before she was posted to the U.S., the report added.

Liu was arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on Nov. 10 last year, and was detained for two months before entering a plea agreement.

Under the deal, she was ordered to pay US$80,044 in restitution to the two maids on Jan. 27, and was deported to Taiwan on Feb. 15. Liu was questioned by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Feb. 22.

(By Liu Shi-yi and C.J. Lin)