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MURDER TRIAL: South Africa Judge Drops Charges in Mine Tycoon Killing

 





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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 25 (Reuters) - A South African judge on Thursday dropped murder charges against convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti over the 2005 killing of mining tycoon Brett Kebble, who was closely linked to the ruling ANC's youth wing.

Agliotti was charged with involvement in the murder of Kebble, who was shot and killed in September 2005 in what the court was told was an assisted suicide.

Judge Frans Kgomo said the state had failed to prove the charges against Agliotti -- the grandson of Italian immigrants and a long-time Kebble associate.

"The accused should no longer remain an accused in this dock ... you are consequently found not guilty on these charges," Kgomo said.

Kebble, a colourful mining magnate who ran three interlinked South African mining companies before he was forced out by unhappy shareholders, cultivated close links to the African National Congress youth league.

Kgomo granted indemnity from prosecution to three men who confessed to being behind Kebble's killing. They testified in the trial on condition of immunity.

Agliotti's acquittal will embarrass the state's prosecuting authority, which first charged him in early 2006. Agliotti, who was convicted of drug dealing in 2007, was a key prosecution witness in the graft trial of former police chief Jackie Selebi earlier this year.

Selebi, a senior ANC official and former president of international police body Interpol, was sentenced to 15 years in jail after being convicted of corruption in August. (Reporting by Marius Bosch; editing by Tim Pearce)


 
 
 
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