Australia releases prisoner convicted in China of fraud

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An official says Australia has granted early release to an Australian businessman convicted in China of financial crimes and transferred home under a prisoner exchange agreement.

Matthew Ng was the first of only two Australian citizens who have been able to come home to Australia under a five-year-old prisoner swap deal with China.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in a statement on Wednesday that he is "satisfied exceptional circumstances exist to justify Mr. Ng's early release from prison." Keenan did not detail those reasons.

Ng was sentenced in Guangzhou in 2011 to 11-1/2 years in prison for fraud and bribery. He transferred to Australia in November 2014 to serve out his sentence.

His lawyer Tom Lennox says the health of Ng's wife likely prompted the decision.