14 Mar 2008

Fiji's Chaudhry sues media for US$5b over tax stories

4:26 pm on 14 March 2008

The Fiji Sun says the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, has filed a multi-billion US dollar lawsuit for defamation.

According to court papers, Mr Chaudhry wants 660 million US dollars from each of the defendants for publishing information about his tax affairs.

The defendants are the Fiji Times editor Netani Rika, senior reporter Robert Matau, publisher Evan Hannah, Fiji Times website moderators John and Jane Doe, News Limited Australia and two former Fiji Islands Revenue Customs Authority staff Lepani Rabo and Joseva Leano.

The interim minister wants damages for articles published by the newspaper alleging that he had evaded taxes.

Mr Chaudhry has accused the paper of waging a malicious and pre-meditated campaign to remove him from office, breach his right to privacy, defamation, and a refusal to issue an apology.