Australia jails conman linked to "Cheriegate"

Other News Materials 7 December 2007 09:53 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Australian conman Peter Foster, once linked to the "Cheriegate" scandal involving the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, was jailed for money laundering Friday.

Foster, who pleaded guilty to a charge related to fraudulently obtaining 234,000 US dollars from the Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years.

The Brisbane court was told he took out a loan for the development of a tourist resort in Fiji but provided false documents and photographs and used the cash for other purposes, including paying outstanding rent on a girlfriend's house.

Foster was arrested in Australia in February after fleeing Fiji and being deported from his first refuge, the South Pacific state of Vanuatu.

He has previously spent time in prison in Australia, Britain and the United States for offences including marketing bogus slimming remedies.

Foster became a household name in Britain in 2002 when Blair's wife Cherie tried to cover up the Australian's role in purchasing two flats for her.

Asked shortly before his arrest if he was a conman, a cheat and a liar, Foster told Australia's Southern Cross Broadcasting: "Yeah, I suppose so."