15 Jan 2003

Vanuatu's right wing movement wants government to hand over suspect to US

12:12 pm on 15 January 2003

Vanuatu's National Right Wing Movement says the government should hand over to the United States a local businessman who is an FBI suspect in an international lottery scam.

Former American Tom Bayer, who is now a Vanuatu citizen, owns the Pacific International Trust Company or PITCO and jointly owns the New York-ased Vanuatu Maritime Services with Robert Bohn who was arrested in the US by the FBI last month.

Mr Bohn was arrested in New Orleans and is still in police custody.

The FBI claim that Mr Bayer and Mr Bohn are members of an international organisation which run a multi million dollar lottery scam in Canada, the Carribean island, Australia and New Zealand.

The proceeds of the scam are supposedly processed through an European offshore bank which they own.

Mr Bayer has denied any illegal activities in the lottery project, saying all activities conducted by him and Mr Bohn were legal.

The Right Wing Movement has been pushing for control of Vanuatu's shipping registry which is run by the two men's company.