Fiji's former PM Chaudhry faces court charges

16:51, July 23, 2010      

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Fiji's former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry was charged on Friday with 12 counts of alleged money laundering, tax evasion and not declaring foreign currency.

Chaudhry appeared in the Suva Magistrates court on Friday after being questioned by the Fiji Police Criminal Investigations Department on Thursday.

This was based on allegations involving tax evasion and money laundering.

Chaudhry appeared in a packed court room on Friday afternoon represented by son and lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry.

The court heard that Chaudhry allegedly failed to surrender foreign currency involving 1.5 million Australian dollars (1.3 million U.S. dollars) between November 1, 2000 to July 23, 2010.

Chaudhry allegedly failed to declare foreign currency by not following the proper channels and failing to follow proper procedure as required by the Reserve Bank of Fiji and charged with a few counts of alleged money laundering. One of these charges involves 50,000 Australian dollars (44,600 U.S. dollars) in relation to where Chaudhry is alleged to have given a gift to his daughter who lives in Australia not following proper procedures under the Reserve Bank of Fiji and Fiji laws and a number of alleged false statements made by Chaudhry when he failed to declare certain amounts.

The 12 charges were read to Chaudhry who said he understood the charges.

However no plea was taken.

Chaudhry handed in his passport and has been released on strict bail conditions which include that he is to report to the Suva Point Police station every Thursday, he was to pay 1,000 Fiji dollars (513 U.S. dollars) assurity and was ordered not to interfere with any of the witnesses.

Chaudhry will appear in the Suva High court again on July 30.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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