FORMER NAURU PRESIDENT ACCEPTS $60,000 ‘LOAN’

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Sept. 27) – A Sydney businessman behind the aborted attempt to refinance the Nauru Government's debt to General Electric Capital Corporation has admitted he gave $60,000 to Nauru’s former finance minister, Kinza Clodumar.

The admission is to be aired on ABC Television's "Four Corners" radio program tonight.

Nauru's Minister for Trusts, Fabian Ribauw, told the Nauru Parliament earlier this month that Clodumar, a former president of Nauru, had sided with Business Australia Capital Finance (BACF) in litigation against Nauru for $23 million (US$16.4 million).

Ribauw accused Mr Clodumar of feathering his own nest while Nauru's nest was left empty.

That claim has since been settled out of court for less than $10 million (US$7.1 million).

In the Four Corners program, BACF founder Ian Lazar says he loaned Mr Clodumar $60,000 (US$42,000) but he denies it was a bribe.

Mr Lazar says the money was actually for Mr Clodumar's daughter and he says it is secured by a mortgage on their residential property.

Mr Ribauw says the loan was never declared to the Nauru Government.

Meanwhile, Nauru's former Minister for Economic Development, Remy Namaduk, said on the same radio program that he was offered cars, houses and a directorship in an Australian company by Lazar.

Lazar admitted that he was a former bankrupt, Ian Rogut, who had changed his name to Lazar.

He said there was nothing sinister in his change of name. He had wanted to protect his father, a prominent Sydney rabbi, and so was now using his mother's name, Lazar.

The deal Lazar's company, Business Australia Capital Finance (BACF), was attempting to put together to refinance Nauru's debt never materialized.

BACF then sued Nauru and has settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, somewhere between $6 million and $10 million.

Namaduk told Four Corners he found Ian Lazar to be a very impressive man. Mr Namaduk said he'd been offered a directorship, houses, cars, anything.

September 28, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

 

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