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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 4, 2000 PIDP/CPIS)--Four million dollars (US) belonging to an American Samoa company was seized recently by the Samoa government.

It is part of the Samoa government’s attempt to shut down suspected money laundering activities in the country’s banks.

Samoa government attorney George Latu of the Samoa Attorney General’s Office said in a telephone interview from Apia, that the $4 million was part of the $14 million seized by Samoa authorities during the summer from eight or nine accounts at several banks in the country.

Names of the account holders for the $14 million were not made public until very recently, when the American Samoa company, Private International Development Banc of American Samoa (PIDBAS), filed a petition with the Samoa court asking that the warrant to seize the $4 million be lifted.

Latu confirmed on Tuesday that PIDBAS owns $4 million of the money seized and has the filing pending in the Samoa court.

The PIDBAS funds were deposit at the ANZ Bank branch in Samoa.

Samoa Government officials said they are cooperating with U.S. authorities in the investigation of the money seized in Apia.

An American Samoa government official said the FBI recently made inquiries about PIDBAS but would not elaborate further.

Officials of PIDBAS declined to comment.

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