PORT VILA, Vanuatu (RNZI, Jan. 9) - The Vanuatu Government wants assurance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. that revenue from its shipping registry has not been confiscated.

Vanutu government spokesman Daniel Bangtor said he believes the FBI has frozen the accounts of Vanuatu Maritime Services, the New York-based company which runs the nation’s shipping registry.

The freeze follows the FBI’s arrest last month of prominent expatriate businessman, Robert Bond, who has been implicated in an alleged international money laundering scam.

The Government has expressed its concern that it has not been able to speak with Bond, who is a Vanuatu citizen.

He was arrested in New Orleans and is now in custody in Memphis.

Bangtor said the registry’s profits belong to the Vanuatu Government, not Robert Bond.

January 9, 2003

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

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