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MELBOURNE, Australia (March 24, 2000 – Radio Australia)---An Australian businessman has been found guilty of conspiring to defraud the small Pacific nation of Nauru out of AUS $100 million (US$ 61 million).

John Richard Walsh, 55, was convicted by a Melbourne court jury after almost four days of deliberations.

The five-month trial heard that Walsh and several others conned the Nauru Phosphate royalties trust out of millions of dollars by setting up a factitious money market and promising mind-boggling profits.

Most of the money had been recovered, but US$ 11 million is still missing.

Two co-offenders have already been dealt with. Gopal Nare, 50, was jailed for four years, while Ronald Adrian Powells, 61, was given a suspended sentence.

The Crown decided not to continue proceedings against a fourth man while a fifth man is believed to be hiding overseas.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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