4 Jun 2002

Marshalls still investigating passport scam

3:01 pm on 4 June 2002

The Marshall Islands government is continuing an investigation into stolen and forged passports after a man was sentenced in the U.S. last month in connection with the sale of documents.

Richard Hickson, the assistant attorney general, says people in four countries appear to have been active in the scam.

Mr Hickson says they're looking at whether there were any links with Marshall Islands Immigration or Customs staff but that is only one element of the investigation.

"We think that it's more likely that things will proceed in other countries rather than the Marshall Islands..that seems to be where most of the actual criminal activity occurred...I am not making accusations against countries or governments, I am saying these offences occurred in other countries, and I think there is two or three mainly Asian countries"

Mr Hickson would not comment on whether the forged and stolen passports were issued at the same time as a government investment scheme which sold 1500 passports between 1994 and 1996.