The former Fiji prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, has appeared before a Suva magistrate on 12 charges of money laundering, tax evasion and fraud involving NZ$1.8 million given to him by supporters in India when he was seized and held as a hostage.
Chaudhry, who was prime minister for exactly a year from May 19, 1999, to May 19, 2000, took the money and put it in banks in Australia and New Zealand.
After the 2006 military coup, Chaudhry joined Voreqe Bainimarama as finance minister and was cleared by an investigation into wrong doing then.
Chaudhry, Fiji's first Indo-Fijian prime minister, later quit his post and recently his Fiji Labour Party has been critical of Bainimarama.
Twelve charges were put to Chaudhry and he said he understood their meaning. No pleas were offered.
He was represented by his lawyer son Rajendra Chaudhry.
He was remanded on bail of F$1000 (NZ$703), required to report to police station weekly and surrender his passport.
He will appear again next Friday.
Chaudhry defeated Sitiveni Rabuka in elections in 1999, and exactly a year later, was overthrown in the George Speight coup. He was held hostage for 56 days as was his son. Both were severely beaten up by Speight supporters.-Stuff.co.nz