Australian convicted conman Peter Foster has gone missing in Fiji and may have fled the country to neighbouring Vanuatu on a yacht to escape fraud charges, officials said today.
Foster was arrested in October in connection to alleged shady deals surrounding a resort development proposal and immigration violations, and released on bail.
Foster has served jail terms in the UK, Australia and the US, mostly for fraud.
The conman made headlines for promoting fake slimming products, and, more recently, being a “financial adviser” to Tony Blair's wife Cherie in a property transaction.
He failed to appear in court as ordered on Monday, prompting Magistrate Aminiasi Katonivualiku to issue a warrant for his re-arrest.
Foster was placed under military guard following Fiji’s December 5 military coup.
Coup leaders in recent weeks have praised Foster for giving details of alleged corruption in the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, one of the reasons cited for the takeover.
Members of Qarase’s party have rejected the corruption allegations and accused Foster of colluding with the military for his own benefit.
Joe Carlo, a Vanuatu government official, told state-run Fiji Television that Foster’s name was one of three names on the passenger manifest of a yacht that arrived at a resort on Vanuatu’s Efate island today.