CONVICTED BANK SWINDLER PARDONED AND BANNED FROM VANUATU

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (November 5, 1998 - PACNEWS/Amy)---Australian based businessman Peter Swanson, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for a US$ 100 million bank scam in Vanuatu, was deported yesterday and declared a prohibited immigrant.

He had served only three months of the 18-month sentence when he was pardoned last week by Head of State, President Jean Marie Leye.

The discretionary powers of the Head of State include the pardoning of prisoners.

Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas has described Leye's actions as disgraceful and disrespectful in view of the government having spent 30 million vatu (US$ 23,000) in prosecution costs to secure a conviction.

Since his release from prison last week, Swanson has been negotiating business deals in Port Vila.

Director General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Jimmy Nipo, said the Minister of Internal Affairs, Vincent Boulekone, had no choice but to expel the convicted businessman.

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