Julius Malema, a former leader of the African National Congress youth wing, and outspoken critic of South African President Jacob Zuma, a former political ally, was charged with money laundering relating to state contracts with an engineering company linked to him, The New York Times reported.
After posting about $1,200 bail, Malema told a throng of supporters outside the courtroom in his native Limpopo Province, "I have nothing to hide."
African leaders banished Malema from the ANC, but he has resurfaced defending miners engaging in wildcat strikes in the nation's gold and platinum mines. Police killed 34 striking miners Aug. 16 in the most serious labor conflict since the end of apartheid, the Times reported.
Government anti-corruption officials also charged Malema owes $2 million in back taxes, which he also rejects as politically motivated.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Ebola cases top 10,000, WHO report says