Friday, July 23, 2010

Fiji's Chaudhry seized by military

By MICHAEL FIELD - Stuff.co.nz
23 July 2010



LATEST: Former Fiji prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry has been arrested on 12 charges of money laundering, tax evasion and fraud, the country's military regime said this afternoon.
The details of the charges have not been released but they relate to NZ$1.8 million given to him by supporters in India when he was seized and held as a hostage in the George Speight 2000 coup.
Chaudhry, the country's first Indo-Fijian prime minister, admitted much of the money had been moved into bank accounts in Australia and New Zealand.
A Ministry of Information Statement said Chaudhry would appear before the Suva Magistrate's Court this afternoon.
After Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama seized power in 2006, Chaudhry joined his regime as finance minister.
Public questioning by the Fiji Times over the missing money led to an inquiry over whether he should be charged penalty interest rates for the interest he earned on the off-shore deposits.
The inquiry, whose report was released in March 2008, decided he had complied with his tax obligations.
It did not deal with whether the money itself was personally donated to Chaudhry or to his Fiji Labour Party.
Chaudhry defeated Sitiveni Rabuka in elections in 1999. Exactly a year later he was overthrown in a Speight coup.


 Fiji's first Indo-Fijian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, has been detained by police and questioned about money given to him when he was a hostage which he then moved into overseas bank accounts, Fiji media reports.





Authorities say they will announce details later today of what action is being taken.





Police Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said Chaudhry had been held by the Criminal Investigation Department and was released today after being detained yesterday.





State controlled Fiji Broadcasting, under military censorship, reported a short time ago that Chaudhry had been detained overnight on allegations involving tax evasion and money laundering.





It says Chaudhry "is expected to be charged soon".





Since the 2009 military coup, Fiji's police force has been under military control with a navy officer, Commodore Esala Teleni, installed as commissioner.





Chaudhry has been questioned over NZ$1.8 million given to him by supporters in India when he was seized and held as a hostage in the George Speight 2000 coup.





Chaudhry admitted much of the money had been moved into bank accounts in Australia and New Zealand.





After Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama seized power, Chaudhry joined his regime as finance minister.





Public questioning by the Fiji Times over the missing money led to an inquiry over whether he should be charged penalty interest rates for the interest he earned on the off-shore deposits.





The inquiry, whose report was released in March 2008, decided he had complied with his tax obligations.





It did not deal with whether the money itself was personally donated to Chaudhry or to his Fiji Labour Party.





Chaudhry defeated Sitiveni Rabuka in elections in 1999, and exactly a year later, was overthrown in a Speight coup.

Comments posted on Matavuvale.com
  • tobo tale tu o van damme lol!! dua saraga vei ira na support taka na coup qo.
  • He must have done something to upset ratu suguraki. They are all in this together so I hope that Chaudhry blabs and tells it like it is. Nothing is guaranteed though under the kangaroo court system as ratu suguraki can just have a word with his Sri Lankan friends sitting on the bench to discharge the case.
  • Frank will take Chaudhry's money and that will be the end of the Court case.
    To think this man sold his soul for the Regime and abandoned his own Brother at his hour of need.
  • If anything else this is a good indication that they are starting to turn on one another. Now the real power struggle will unravel. Is this the beginning of something that we have been hoping for? I wonder when he will start bleeping for clemency !
  • I agree, it's a good omen !

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