Suva, March 13, 2019
The New Zealand authorities have expressed their gratitude to the Fijian Police for their valuable assistance in the investigation of Christopher Chase, a New Zealander convicted of drug related offences.
In 2015, Christopher Chase was sentenced to 10 years in prison in New Zealand for drug related offences. The street value of the illegal pills (drugs) he sold was reported at nearly $50 million.
The Investigation process
The Fijian authorities provided assistance to the New Zealand Police during the course of their investigation of Christopher Chase and his co-offenders to identify any proceeds of crime located in Fiji. Subsequently, a restraining order was registered over the proceeds of the sale of a property in Fiji which was owned by Christopher Chase.
The proceeds, totalling F$ 89,623.10 were then held in the Fijian Forfeited Assets Fund account. In 2018, New Zealand authorities sent another request to register and enforce a foreign forfeiture order over the sum of money in the Forfeited Assets Fund.
Foreign Forfeiture Order
In November 2018, the Fijian High Court registered the Foreign Forfeiture Order effectively allowing for the forfeiture of the funds to New Zealand authorities.
On December 10, 2018, the New Zealand Government formally advised that it will not seek to recover the forfeited asset (funds totalling F$ 89,623.10) and advised that Fijian authorities may retain the forfeited asset.
The New Zealand authorities expressed their gratitude to the Fijian authorities for their valuable co-operation with the investigation into this case and the mutual legal assistance request.
Anti-Money Laundering measures
Fijian Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stated that the Fijian Government plans to utilise the forfeited assets to fund efforts to strengthen Fiji’s capacity to combat money-laundering. He also reaffirmed Fiji’s commitment to work with international law enforcement agencies in investigating transnational crime and tracing and confiscating any illicit proceeds that may end up in Fiji.