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Malaysia in transition

Malaysian ex-minister Lim denies graft amid 'persecution' claims

Key Mahathir aide faces up to 20 years in jail as allies blast PM Muhyiddin

Malaysia's former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, center, arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Aug. 7 to face a corruption charge.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on Friday pleaded not guilty to a corruption charge involving a $1.5 billion undersea tunnel project, after his overnight arrest stunned the nation and prompted his allies to accuse the government of "political persecution."

Lim, who is the secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party -- a major opposition group -- was detained late on Thursday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to face the charge in the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Two additional cases against Lim are to be heard in the island state of Penang next week.

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