September 3, 2018 / 8:42 AM / 8 months ago

Malaysia's finance minister Lim Guan Eng acquitted of corruption charges

Malaysia's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin/File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian court on Monday acquitted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng of corruption charges brought against him two years ago, state news agency Bernama reported.

Lim was charged in 2016 with abusing his position as chief minister of the state of Penang by securing a two-storey bungalow below market price.

Lim was a senior opposition leader then and the graft charges were seen by his supporters as a politically motivated move by then prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib unexpectedly lost a general election earlier this year to veteran Mahathir Mohamad.

Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail discharged the finance minister after prosecution withdrew the charges, Bernama reported.

Lim, a former banker and chartered accountant, was named finance minister in Mahathir’s cabinet in May. Before that, Lim was the chief minister of Penang, the second richest state in the country and home to a popular tourist island and industrial port.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Nick Macfie

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