A court in South Africa has thrown out fraud and corruption charges against left-wing opposition leader Julius Malema.
The case should be “struck off” because of lengthy delays in bringing him to trial, a judge ruled.
Mr Malema was charged in 2012 with money laundering, racketeering and corruption related to a government contract worth $4m (£2.5m).
He denied the charges, and said they were politically motivated.
Mr Malema formed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in 2013 following his expulsion from the governing African National Congress (ANC).
He is a fierce critic of President Jacob Zuma, and has campaigned against corruption.
Correspondents say the ruling is a big boost for Mr Malema’s career, and will fuel perceptions that he is the victim of an abuse of power.
Judge George Mothle said the case had dragged on for too long, and this was “prejudicial” to Mr Malema, South Africa’s News24 site reports.
“For now, the case is over, you are free to go,” the judge told Mr Malema. –BBC
However, he added, the defendant not been formally acquitted, so prosecutors could still charge him again.