8 Mar 2005

FBI confirms big investigation underway in American Samoa

5:15 pm on 8 March 2005

The FBI has confirmed that an investigation is underway into some high profile individuals in American Samoa but it will not comment any further on the extent of it.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says 30 agents were flown in to conduct the search and seizure raid of the Governor's office, the Attorney General's office and the Treasury's computer room.

An FBI special agent in Honolulu, Arnold Laanui, would not identify who is being targetted but Ms Miller says they include the former Attorney General, Fiti Sunia and his uncle, the Lieutenant governor, Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia.

She says tax records from those and other highly placed individuals were taken.

"Judging from the kind of information the Feds have taken - they're really after payments that have been issued to individuals in government and also companies that these individuals have done business with."

Monica Miller says there is an expectation that charges will be laid sooner rather than later although special agent Laanui says it's too early to predict as there needs to be an analysis of the material taken.