7 May 2004

NZ Lawyer acts for Cook Islands MP in libel action

4:14 pm on 7 May 2004

The lawyer acting for Cook Islands MP, Norman George, says his defamation case is for a large sum because of the persistent claims made against him.

John Samuels, who is based in Auckland, says the local newspaper repeatedly alleged that there was corruption in the dealings to assist a convicted New Zealander, Mark Lyon, get residency in the Cook Islands.

Lyon paid the equivalent of 95-thousand US dollars into Mr George's account as a bond.

Those being targeted for millions of dollars by legal action include Elizabeth Ponga of the Concerned Citizens Group who claims that Mr George's lawyer is not allowed to practice in the Cooks.

But Mr Samuels says this is incorrect.

"I've got the appropriate entry permits. There's nothing in the Law Practitioners Act that talks about a Development Investment Board. I'm not a company, I'm a firm."