26 Jun 2003

Marshall islands grand larceny case gets underway

10:29 am on 26 June 2003

The biggest embezzelment case in the history of the Marshall islands went to trial this week in the capital, Majuro.

Former College of the Marshall Islands business manager, Louiston Louis is facing 98 counts of grand larceny and cheating that allege he stole more than 640 thousand US dollars from the college between 1999 and 2002.

On Tuesday five Marshallese - four women and one man - were selected to sit on the jury that will hear the case.

Jury trials in criminal cases are a rarity in Marshall Islands, as most defendants request trials before a judge only.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Negotiations to settle the case out of court have been ongoing but have not to date led to a settlement.