21 Sep 2010

Judge choice in Chaudhry trial in Fiji due next month

1:31 pm on 21 September 2010

A former Fiji Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, will find out next month if he's succeeded in his bid for an overseas judge to preside over his money laundering and tax evasion case.

Mr Chaudhry is charged with a dozen counts of alleged money laundering, tax evasion and not declaring foreign currency.

The Fijivillage website reports that he's hired New Zealand lawyer, Peter Williams QC, to represent him in the case, replacing his son, Rajendra Chaudhry.

A lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Aca Rayawa, says Mr Chaudhry has filed an application for the case to be heard by a judge who wasn't a resident of Fiji.

Mr Williams backed up the bid for an overseas judge, saying his client's status as Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader should be considered when making the decision.

Mr Williams says an independent inquiry in March 2008 found Mr Chaudhry clean of all allegations.

Justice Goundar will make a decision on October the 15th.