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Speaker of Indonesian Parliament Implicated in Corruption Scandal

Indonesian House Speaker Setya Novanto speaks during press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 18, 2017.

Indonesia's parliamentary speaker has been named a suspect in a multi-million dollar corruption scandal involving the implementation of a national electronic identity card.

The head of the government's Corruption Eradication Commission, Agus Rahardjo, said Monday there is sufficient evidence that Speaker Setya Novanto participated in a scheme to embezzle as much has $170 million between 2011 and 2012, about one-third of the $440 million allocated for the project.

Rahardjo said Novanto, who also serves as chairman of the Golkar party, is believed to have abused his power by enriching himself and others.

Novanto denied the accusations Tuesday during a news conference.

Several other senior Indonesian political figures have been implicated in the scandal, including the justice minister and a former interior minister. Two government officials are currently on trial in connection with the case, which could test President Joko Widodo's willingness to take a hard line against official corruption.

Indonesia was ranked 90th out of 176 nations on a list of the world's most corrupt governments compiled by watchdog group Transparency International.