Two Cypriot brothers accused of money laundering through credit cards in Fiji have been released, with a court sentencing them to time served after spending two years in remand.
According to media reports in Fiji, Loizos and Cleanthis Petridis were found guilty of possession of property believed to be proceeds of criminal activity.
But the two brothers, who were said to have a criminal past in Cyprus, were also acquitted of other charges, namely obtaining as well as attempting to obtain property by deception.
Fiji police investigators said the two suspects used mastercards with no inscription to withdraw cash and then paid locals to wire money to people in other countries, including Bulgaria
The judge said the maximum penalty was two years imprisonment or a fine of $12,000, noting that the two Cypriot nationals had been in remanded custody for a period of two years and six days.
Previous reports said the two brothers ended up doing time in remanded custody during trial 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.
Fiji law enforcement agents arrested the two suspects in December 2017 but the two brothers were later released on bail in February 2018 when a lower court found them not to be a flight risk.
But the prosecution filed an appeal arguing that a lower court had made a mistake in not recognizing the foreign status of the two suspects and lack of ties to the community.
Originally they faced 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 said the two suspects used mastercards with no inscription on them 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 but only part of that money had been wired according to media sources.