16 Nov 2011

American businessman to sell Fiji investments over alleged extortion by officials

6:10 pm on 16 November 2011

An American businessman and investor in Fiji says he will sell all his assets and cut his business ties with Fiji after being extorted by officials at Fiji's Biosecurity Authority.

Ken Honig says since 1998 he's invested about four million US dollars in a plantation and other property in Fiji.

Mr Honig says he was forced last week to pay 22,000 US dollars to the authority's CEO and legal officer in order to leave the country after accusations he had imported a species of iguana.

A court order allowed him to leave for the United States on Friday and Mr Honig says he's left behind more than a financial investment.

"This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid to own property in the South Pacific. We live in this property. We grow all our own fruits and vegetables. We're not tourists there. I have spent years building this estate. A dream was destroyed."

Ken Honig says he does not believe Fiji is a safe place at the moment for either himself or his family.