Dozens of graft charges against Malaysian deputy premier are dismissed deep into his trial


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian court on Monday dismissed 47 corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at an advanced stage of his trial.

Zahid told a news conference afterward that the High Court discharged him but refused to grant him a full acquittal, which means he can still be recharged. But he said he was grateful that the “political-motivated accusations against me have ended.”

Zahid heads the United Malays National Organization, and his support has been pivotal in helping Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim form a unity government. Zahid’s dismissal could further hurt the anti-corruption stance of Anwar’s government. Opposition leaders have alleged Zahid had supported Anwar so the charges against him could be dropped.

Monday’s court ruling came just weeks after local elections in which the Islamist-Malay nationalist opposition bloc won strong support to make further inroads in government-ruled states.

His lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said prosecutors sought to drop the proceedings partly because further investigation was needed. He said the defense will apply for a full acquittal. The dismissal came despite the court’s ruling in January 2022 that prosecutors’ had proven a case against Zahid and ordered him to enter his defense.

Zahid. 70, was charged after the long-ruling UMNO-led coalition lost the 2018 general elections amid public anger over corruption. Then-Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged in several graft cases and is serving a 12-year jail term after losing a final appeal in one of the cases.

Zahid faced 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, 27 counts of money laundering and eight counts of bribery involving more than 31 million ringgit ($6.7 million) from his family foundation. More than 110 witnesses have testified. Prosecutors alleged that money meant for charity were misappropriated for his personal use, including to pay off his credit cards and for shopping.

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