A Fiji court has quashed money laundering charges against former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry, but he will still stand trial for allegedly breaching foreign exchange laws, reports say.
Chaudhry, who became Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister in 1999 but was ousted in a coup a year later, faced 12 charges after allegedly giving false information to tax authorities about bank accounts in Australia.
The High Court threw out five money laundering charges after accepting an application from Chaudhry's lawyer that it did not have jurisdiction over the foreign accounts, the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) reported on Wednesday.
A further four counts of making false tax returns were dismissed because the three-year time limit under which the alleged offence could be prosecuted had expired, the Fijivillage news website reported.
The FBC said Chaudhry still faced three counts of breaching foreign exchange laws for failing to declare the accounts to the Reserve Bank of Fiji, and that the case would be the subject of a pre-trial conference on August 13.
Chaudhry has reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Chaudhry is a fierce critic of the military regime of Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup.
However, a criminal conviction could potentially bar him from running in elections scheduled to held in the South Pacific nation in 2014.