16 Jan 2003

Vanuatu businessman says no basis to FBI money laundering claims

7:14 pm on 16 January 2003

A Vanuatu businessman, Tom Bayer, says he is confident that fraud charges laid by the FBI in the US against him and two colleagues will be thrown out.

Mr Bayer says the charges include racketeering and money laundering through his Vanuatu-based offshore bank.

He says Robert Bohn, who is the bank's CEO, is in jail in Tennessee after being arrested on the charges in New Orleans two months ago.

Mr Bayer says the charges come from their association in the mid-1990s with a Barbados company, IDM, which marketed national lotteries overseas.

He says the FBI claims IDM was running a lottery scam and pocketing the money or not paying the winnings.

But Mr Bayer says the bank was not aware of any misrepresentation by IDM.

"and looking through our old records we even today we cannot see that there has been any misrepresentation and anything other than a normal commercial relationship, so if there was misrepresentation we are not aware of how it was misrepresented or who did it"

Tom Bayer

Robert Bohn is due for a court hearing in Memphis on March 3rd.