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Malaysian minister’s husband charged with graft

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysian prosecutors have charged a Cabinet minister’s husband with misusing nearly 50 million ringgit ($16 million) of funds meant for a government-backed cattle project.

The charge escalates a high-profile corruption scandal nicknamed “Cowgate” that could hurt Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling coalition in general elections expected within months.

The allegations involve a cattle-farming company managed by the family of Women and Family Minister Shahrizat Abdul Aziz that’s accused of using a government loan to purchase condominiums, vacations and a Mercedes.

Shahrizat and her family have denied any wrongdoing, but she announced over the weekend that she would relinquish her Cabinet post in April amid mounting public criticism.

Shahrizat’s husband pleaded innocent in court Monday to four charges involving criminal breach of trust.

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