26 Jul 2012

Charges reduced in Fiji's case against Chaudhry

4:42 am on 26 July 2012

The Suva High Court has reduced the number of charges against the Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry following a stay application filed by defence lawyers.

FBC News reports that three counts have been retained, all pertaining to alleged financial dealings in Australia without the Reserve Bank of Fiji's consent.

Money laundering charges have been dropped either because Fiji courts have no jurisdiction or too much time has elapsed since the alleged offence.

When Mr Chaudhry was the interim government's finance minister in 2008, a special committee had already cleared him of all accusations of tax evasion.

The three-member committee clearing Mr Chaudhry included Taufa Vakatale who is now part of the Constitution Commission.

Half a year later, Mr Chaudhry sued the Fiji Times for five billion US dollars for defamation for reporting his alleged breaches.

In 2010, two years after he had quit the interim regime, he was charged with tax evasion and money laundering.