Two Cypriot brothers remain in custody in Fiji on charges of money laundering, after a high court reversed a previous bail ruling, citing the seriousness of their alleged crimes and possible long sentences.
Cleanthis Petrides, aged 46, and his brother 42-year-old brother Loizos are facing a total of 293 charges of money laundering, after being accused of using fraudulent credit cards to withdraw money from ATM’s around Fiji.
Fiji police investigators say the two suspects used mastercards with no inscription to withdraw cash and then paid locals to wire the money to people in other countries, including Bulgaria. The total amount in question was around €169,000 ($209,000), but only part of that money had been wired according to media sources.
A Suva High Court judge on Thursday rejected the bail ruling, dismissing a previous finding that the brothers were not flight risks
The two brothers, both Cypriot nationals, were arrested in December 2017 and later released on bail in February. But the prosecution filed an appeal arguing that a lower court had made a mistake in not recognising the foreign status of the two suspects and lack of ties to the community.
A Suva High Court judge on Thursday rejected the bail ruling, siding with the prosecution and rejecting the lower court ruling in February that found the two men had not been flight risks.
Reports also say the Republic of Cyprus issued international arrest warrants for the Petrides brothers, who are currently facing a tough prosecution according to local media in Fiji. They also have a criminal past in Cyprus.
The two men remain in custody in Fiji until the next hearing on April 20.