Foster to be discharged on Monday

CON MAN: Handcuffed and under heavy guard in a Fijian hospital, the famous fraudster plans to sue the police for assault after his arrest this week, according to his lawyer


Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 4

A convicted Australian fraudster who cut his head on a boat propeller as he tried to escape police in Fiji will be discharged from hospital on Monday, a doctor said yesterday.

Peter Foster, 44, has been handcuffed and under police guard at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in the Fijian capital Suva since he was admitted with head injuries on Wednesday, Dr Ifeireini Waqainabete said.

Police had been hunting him for three weeks before his capture near Suva on Wednesday. They said that Foster cut his head on a boat propeller after diving into a river in an attempt to flee arresting officers.

Foster, who gained notoriety for promoting fake slimming products and dating 1980s British glamor model Samantha Fox, is a suspect in three criminal investigations involving international fraud, spreading false information and immigration violations.

"We decided that we'll keep him over the weekend, and he'll be discharged formally on Monday," said Waqainabete, who is treating Foster.

Fijian police agreed to let Foster remain in hospital until Monday before questioning him, even though doctors said he was fit enough to be discharged.

A doctor treating Foster said it was agreed he could recuperate at the hospital over the weekend, as he had nowhere else to stay.

Separately, Foster's lawyer said he plans to file a complaint against the police that they assaulted Foster after his arrest this week.

"He says that he was assaulted," Mehboob Raza told reporters in Suva. "I've got all the faith in the police force that they'll do the proper investigation."

Raza did not provide details of the alleged assault.

Foster has served jail terms in Australia, Britain and the US, mostly for fraud convictions. He once advised Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a property transaction.

Although there was never any suggestion the deal was illegal, she had to apologize after trying to cover up the extent of her dealings with the Australian.

Earlier this month, Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase asked his Home Affairs Minister how Foster had managed to slip into the country even though he has been barred since 2002.

Fiji's Immigration Department terminated Foster's work permit last week.