Peter Foster


Peter Foster

Infobox Criminal
subject_name = Peter Foster


image_size =
image_caption = Foster addressing the media at the height of "Cheriegate"
date_of_birth = 26 September, 1962 (age 45)
place_of_birth =
date_of_death =
place_of_death =
alias =
charge =
conviction = Fraud
penalty =
status =
occupation =
spouse =
parents =
children =

Peter Foster (born 26 September 1962) is an Australian conman and convicted criminal. He has been nicknamed and referred to himself as the "human headline" [cite news | last=Mitchell | first=Alex | title=Tony Blair was 'intimate' with my girlfriend: Foster | date=March 7, 2004 | publisher=Sydney Morning Herald| url=http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/06/1078464700513.html] [cite news | last=Cracknell and Hellen | first=David and Nicholas | title=Conman Foster kicks PM in pants| date=March 7, 2004 | publisher=The Times| url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1028958,00.html] after his involvement in helping Cherie Blair, wife of United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair buy properties in Bristol. He had already been convicted on numerous occasions for frauds involving weight loss products and property transactions.cite news | last=Brown | first=Malcolm | title=A few inconvenient untruths | date=January 6, 2007 | publisher=The Age| url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/a-few-inconvenient-untruths/2007/01/05/1167777281503.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1]

History

Foster began marketing and selling products at an early age. He has stated that at age 14, he leased a string of pinball machines to high-rise apartment buildings in Surfers Paradise, and that by 15 he was earning several times more money than his teachers, and soon decided it was time for him to leave school and go into business full-time. [cite news | last=Robson | first=Frank | title=Boy Genius| date=1982 | publisher=Playboy Magazine Australia| url=]

Foster first hit the headlines as the "world’s youngest boxing promoter" when at the age of 17 he staged a world elimination title fight featuring British and European Light Heavyweight Champion Bunny Johnson and Australia's Tony Mundine. His first criminal conviction came at age 20 when he was fined £40,000 for his involvement in an attempted insurance fraud.

In 1983, Foster became a television producer, and filmed a documentary with retired boxer Muhammad Ali while living with Ali at his home near Wilshire Boulevard for a period of time.

Foster obtained the rights for Bai Lin Tea for Australia where it was minor success, however he was investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and charged with fraudulently claiming that the product could result in weight loss. Foster expanded to South Africa, England and throughout Europe where he reportedly made over $20 million in the mid 1980s selling the dieter's dream, primarily in the UK.Fact|date=February 2007 In marketing the tea, he employed celebrities such as model Samantha Fox, jockey Lester Piggott and Sarah, Duchess of York to endorse the tea, and he became a major sponsor of Chelsea F.C. in 1987 with the team wearing the Bai Lin Tea logo on their jerseys. [True Colours (2007). [http://www.truecoloursfootball.co.uk/default.asp?id=3 Controversial kits] . Retrieved January 7, 2007.] He was fined £21,000 in 1994 in the United Kingdom for fraud over Bai Lin Tea, in 1995 was jailed for breaching laws regarding his distribution of slimming granules, and he was also investigated for his conduct as a director of Foremost Body Corporation.

Following the Bai Lin Tea venture, he subsequently promoted a similar product, Chow Low Tea, in the United States. After creating an advertisement that falsely claimed that the tea lowered the cholesterol levels of its consumers and placing these in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post", he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four months in prison. Foster next marketed Ageless Aging, a product which claimed through advertising to be able to counter toxins that "contribute greatly to the aging process."

When he was allowed out on day leave as he served his 1995 prison sentence, Foster fled to Australia using a fake passport. He was immediately charged by the ACCC for his marketing of Biometrics, a thigh contour treatment, and later fined A$15,000. This conviction was followed by Foster appealing against an extradition request from the United Kingdom, but his appeal failed and he was charged with fraud relating to the Foremost Body Corporation in 2000. After serving 33 months in prison, including time spent on remand during his extradition hearings, Foster moved to Fiji.

In September 2005, Foster was found guilty in the Federal Court of Australia of making A$1 million as part of a fraud involving the marketing of TRIMit, a weight loss pill. He was fined A$150,000 and the Chaste Corporation responsible for the product was fined A$600,000; in addition, Foster was banned from commercial involvement in weight loss or health products for five years.

Cheriegate

Foster was at the centre of the 2002 Cheriegate affair after it was revealed that he was the financial advisor to Cherie Blair and assisted her with the purchase of two flats in Bristol.Fact|date=February 2007 It was later established that Foster committed no crimes. He claimed he never sought any financial reward for assisting the Blairs and helped them only out of friendship. [BBC News (December 11, 2002). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/talking_point/2565141.stm BBC Talkback with Anthony Howard] .]

Cherie Blair tried to distance herself from Foster and released a public statement claiming that Foster was not involved with the property deal. The "Daily Mail" newspaper provided e-mail evidence to the contrary; in one email between Blair and Foster she described him as "a star" and said, "We are on the same wave length, Peter". [BBC News (2003). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2787019.stm E-mails you wish you'd never sent] . Retrieved January 7, 2007.]

She went public herself, tearfully reading a prepared statement blaming her "misfortune" on the pressures of running a family and being a mother.Fact|date=February 2007 Cherie and Tony Blair at one time agreed to be godparents to the yet-to-be born child of Foster and his partner Carole Caplin, who unfortunately miscarried. Foster was also invited to Chequers to celebrate Christmas with the Blair family, and was a guest at 10 Downing Street on the night of his 40th birthday. Foster later claimed, on his 2004 ABCTV "Enough Rope" appearance, that he believed his partner was pregnant with Tony Blair's child, the product of a long-standing extramarital affair. He could not substantiate this claim.

Activities in Fiji

Prior to the parliamentary election of 2001, Foster invested more than F$1 million in the New Labour Unity Party, a group which broke from the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) in May 2001 in the wake of the coup d'état which deposed the FLP-led government in May 2000. Foster said he supported Dr Tupeni Baba, the former Deputy Prime Minister, because he saw him as the "Nelson Mandela of the South Pacific." [ [http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/1431 Peering into a kava bowl, again... predictions for Fiji's election outcome | Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston ] ] Describing himself as a "freedom fighter for Fiji", he was concerned that there could be another coup if the FLP leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, who had been deposed in the 2000 coup, returned to office. [ Fiji Times, December 3, 2001 ]

On October 25 2006, Foster was arrested by Fiji police after injuring himself under a boat while attempting to evade police capture. [ [http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2006/10/25/fijilive5.html Fijilive - Gateway to Fiji, Fiji News, Fiji eDirectory, Fiji Magic, Fiji Real Estate, Fiji Classifieds, Fiji Dating, Fiji Rugby, Fiji Football, Fiji Jobs, Fijian News, Fijian Music, Fiji Houses for Sale, Fiji Holidays, Fiji Sports, Fiji Picture Gallery, Fiji Business, etc ] ] He spent time recovering in a hospital in Suva before being handed over to authorities for questioning. [AAP (2006). [http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Peter-Fosters-hospital-stay-extended/2006/10/27/1161749283713.html Peter Foster's hospital stay extended] .] The following day, the Fiji Live news service reported that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces had called for an investigation into Tupeni Baba's links with Peter Foster.

Foster was not formally charged but police wanted to interview him about a range of matters. These included presenting a falsified police clearance certificate to immigration authorities in Fiji to obtain a work permit, obtaining loans from the Federated States of Micronesia using some lease documents from Fiji, and impersonating a rival developer to discredit a resort development at Champagne Beach in the Yasawa Islands. cite news
title = Caught: conman Foster's free run finally ends
url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/caught-conman-fosters-free-run-finally-ends/2006/10/25/1161749189161.html
date = 2006-10-26
work = Sydney Morning Herald (via smh.com.au)
accessdate = 2006-10-26
] .

On October 30 2006, it was reported that Foster had proposed to Fijian police to drop assault charges against them, if he was allowed to leave the country with no charges lodged against him. cite news
title = Fiji police reject Foster proposal
url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20669371-23109,00.html
date = 2006-10-30
work = The Australian (via news.com.au)
accessdate = 2006-10-30
] .

Foster pleaded not guilty in Suva Magistrates Court on three charges: forgery, uttering forged documents and obtaining a work permit on forged documents. Foster was not granted bail at that stage and was sent to Suva's Korovou Prison for the night.cite news
title = Foster to spend night in Fiji jail
url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Foster-to-spend-night-in-Fiji-jail/2006/11/07/1162661655088.html
date = 2006-11-07
work = The Melbourne Age (theage.com.au)
accessdate = 2006-11-07
]

On 12 November 2006, Foster's sister Jill was arrested before boarding a Pacific Blue flight from Nadi Airport bound for Brisbane when she was stopped by immigration officers. One of the officers said she was wanted by police in Suva to answer allegations in fraud-related cases regarding her brother.cite news
title = Foster's sister arrested
url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/fosters-sister-arrested/2006/11/11/1162661949229.html
date = 2006-11-12
work = Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au)
accessdate = 2006-11-12
] . On November 13 it was reported that she was released on bail after pleading not guilty to fraud charges and she did not have to be present when the case is to be called again on November 20.

Foster re-appeared in a Fiji court, on 24 November 2006, to ask for his bail conditions to be varied. He appeared in the Suva court before Magistrate John Semisi to apply "for variance to bail conditions". The reason for a relaxation in his bail was to allow him to move to his house in Nadi from a place at JJs on the Park, where he was "virtually" under house arrest.Fact|date=February 2007 Foster's lawyer, Mehboob Raza, asked for a week to prepare submissions but Mr Semisi adjourned the case to December 11 2006.

The "Fiji Times" reported on 5 December 2006 that Foster had moved to support Frank Bainimarama following the 2006 Fijian coup d'état after being closely involved with deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's political party before the election. Foster was also quoted as saying that "corruption in Fiji was out of control". [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=52927 Military threatens to jail PM - Fiji Times Online ] ] . Earlier, deposed Qarase had been quoted by the Fiji Village news service on 26 October as admitting that the then-campaign minister of the ruling Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Party, Jale Baba, had been in contact with Foster prior to the election, but insisted that Baba had acted without the authorization or knowledge of the party. On 21 December, Fiji Village quoted the Britain Times as claiming that Foster had negotiated an agreement with the Fijian Military to expose corruption in the deposed government in return for his own freedom. Fiji Live made similar claims. [ [http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/01/04/04fijilive02.html Fijilive - Gateway to Fiji, Fiji News, Fiji eDirectory, Fiji Magic, Fiji Real Estate, Fiji Classifieds, Fiji Dating, Fiji Rugby, Fiji Football, Fiji Jobs, Fijian News, Fijian Music, Fiji Houses for Sale, Fiji Holidays, Fiji Sports, Fiji Picture Gallery, Fiji Business, etc ] ]

It was reported, on 13 December 2006, that Foster could return to jail in Suva after Fiji's Department of Public Prosecutions had applied for him to be remanded in custody. [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20921222-5005961,00.html Peter Foster could be back in jail next week | Herald Sun ] ] . The DPP made the application in response to Mr Foster's bid to have his bail conditions changed so he could move from house arrest at a Suva hotel to his home on Denarau Island, off the coast of Nadi on the western side of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=53709 Foster moves to island home - Fiji Times Online ] ]

Foster had tendered an affidavit to the Suva court by former Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer Ian Eriksson that Foster worked as an informant for the AFP during the 1990s. Two other affidavits had been submitted from former solicitors to convince the court that Foster would not be a flight risk if he were allowed to move from house arrest in a Suva hotel back to his home near Nadi, a three-hour drive away. [ [http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,20923425-5006003,00.html Conman Foster 'worked as AFP informant' in 1990s | The Daily Telegraph ] ]

Foster had concerned Fijian prosecutors by checking out of the hotel where he had been ordered to stay as per his bail conditions. Foster failed to appear in court after leaving Suva's JJ's on the Park hotel, where he had been under house arrest awaiting trial on fraud charges relating to his business dealings in the country in 2006. Foster told "The Australian" that he had been given permission by the Suva court to return to his rented villa near Nadi in a decision by Fiji police. [ [http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20949646-2702,00.html Conman checks out | The Australian ] ]

On 1 January 2007, the Military released what it said was a secretly obtained video of a restaurant conversation between Foster and Navitalai Naisoro, the electoral strategist of the SDL party. Naisoro told Foster that the 2006 elections were rigged, with the full knowledge and cooperation of certain elements of the police. [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=54442 Party dares Foster to show cards - Fiji Times Online ] ] [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54508 Come clean, SDL told - Fiji Times Online ] ] [ [http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/01/01/01fijilive02.html Fijilive - Gateway to Fiji, Fiji News, Fiji eDirectory, Fiji Magic, Fiji Real Estate, Fiji Classifieds, Fiji Dating, Fiji Rugby, Fiji Football, Fiji Jobs, Fijian News, Fijian Music, Fiji Houses for Sale, Fiji Holidays, Fiji Sports, Fiji Picture Gallery, Fiji Business, etc ] ] Several Cabinet Ministers were implicated. Ousted Prime Minister Qarase angrily denied the claims. [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=54551 Qarase denies Fiji vote rigging claims - Fiji Times Online ] ] [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=54328 Fosters poll claims laughable: Qarase - Fiji Times Online ] ] [http://www.fijivillage.com/artman/publish/article_34851.shtml] [http://www.fijivillage.com/artman/publish/article_34783.shtml] He suggested that the conversation recorded on video could have been staged. [http://www.fijivillage.com/artman/publish/article_34827.shtml]

Fiji Television reported on 10 January 2007 that Foster, who was out of prison on bail, [ [http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=51352 Local singer provides surety for Aussie conman - Fiji Times Online ] ] had disappeared. On 11 January 2007 it was reported that police in Vanuatu were looking for Foster. Foster had been under house arrest in Fiji, but failed to appear in a Suva court on 9 January 2007. It was also mentioned that police are searching for him after reports he arrived in the capital Port Vila on a yacht. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200701/s1824918.htm Vanuatu police hunt Foster. 11/01/2007. ABC News Online ] ] On 14 January, Foster was arrested in Vanuatu at 5:05 a.m. He would appear in court the next morning on charges related to his illegal entry into the country on 8 December aboard "Retriever 1" a former Australian minesweeper. [ [http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/01/14/fijilive05.html Fijilive - Gateway to Fiji, Fiji News, Fiji eDirectory, Fiji Magic, Fiji Real Estate, Fiji Classifieds, Fiji Dating, Fiji Rugby, Fiji Football, Fiji Jobs, Fijian News, Fijian Music, Fiji Houses for Sale, Fiji Holidays, Fiji Sports, Fiji Picture Gallery, Fiji Business, etc ] ] [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200701/s1826752.htm Foster to face Vanuatu court. 15/01/2007. ABC News Online ] ]

It was reported on 18 January that Foster had struck a deal with Vanuatu authorities to be deported to Australia and would possibly avoid facing charges in Fiji. State Prosecutor in Vanuatu, Alfred Bice said Foster was likely to be flown to Brisbane. He said a deal had been struck for Foster to plead guilty to illegally entering Vanuatu in return for a fine of 100,000 vatu (AUD $1,250). Foster faced the Vanuatu Magistrates Court on 18 January, where his hearing was adjourned until the next day, when the deal for his deportation is expected to be formally agreed to. Bice said the Vanuatu government would pay for Foster's flight to Australia, where it's believed he is not wanted for any alleged offences. The deal to deport Foster means he will not face justice in Fiji, where he is wanted after skipping bail while facing charges of using a forged document to enter that country. [ [http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/conman-foster-looks-australia-bound/2007/01/18/1168709873297.html?s_cid=rss_smh Conman Foster looks Australia bound - World - smh.com.au ] ]

Fijian police Criminal Investigations Director Ravi Narayan said on 31 January 2007 that Fiji wanted to extradite Foster from Vanuatu, but admitted that it was unlikely, as Vanuatu authorities were keen to prosecute and imprison him for violating their own laws. He considered that Fiji would have a better chance of a successful prosecution, because Fijian authorities had sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. Foster is due for sentencing on 2 February, having pleaded guilty to a charge of entering Vanuatu without a valid visa, in return for the withdrawal of a more serious charge of entering without a valid passport. The offence carries a maximum prison term of one year or a fine of $200,000 vatu ($A2400). [ [http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/01/31/Fijilive10.html Fijilive - Gateway to Fiji, Fiji News, Fiji eDirectory, Fiji Magic, Fiji Real Estate, Fiji Classifieds, Fiji Dating, Fiji Rugby, Fiji Football, Fiji Jobs, Fijian News, Fijian Music, Fiji Houses for Sale, Fiji Holidays, Fiji Sports, Fiji Picture Gallery, Fiji Business, etc ] ]

On 2 February Foster was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment on a charge of entering Vanuatu without a valid visa. The sentence was backdated to the date of his arrest and he was fined 120,000 vatu ($A1,400). [ [http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/conman-jailed-for-island-hop/2007/02/02/1169919508313.html Conman jailed for island hop - World - smh.com.au ] ] He was released from jail on February 4 after serving only three weeks of the six week sentence. [ [http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/conman-heads-back-to-australia/2007/02/05/1170523988980.html I don't know how I do it: Foster - World - smh.com.au ] ]

Trivia

Foster twice "dated" well-known topless models turned singers, Christian and Samantha Fox.

Foster stated that he was the first to try and secure a record deal for Kylie Minogue in England, although, like nearly all stories told by Foster, this appears to be a fabrication. He says he approached Zomba Records, who turned him down saying Minogue would never make it in England.Fact|date=February 2007

He alleges he has worked as an undercover operative for the Australian Federal Police (1993 and 1997) and Derbyshire Force Intelligence (1997) [ The British House of Lords, Hansard, Question to Lord Irvine by Lord Spens 2000 April 16 ] during dangerous operations which required him to wear listening devices and covertly record conversations with criminal targets.

Foster says received over $1 million advance for his biography from the "Daily Mail" newspaper. Written by Daily Mail journalist Richard Shears in 2003, Foster states that it remains unpublished because of the threats of law suits from people in "high places". [ G.C. Bulletin 17 March 2003 ] The Daily Mail" denies the advance was ever paid.

Foster has been sentenced on 12 occasions (10 to 2004) and spent numerous periods in holding and detention cells. He has spent 4 lengthy periods in jail.

Foster's style of conning has recently earnt him the media nickname (particularly in Australian press) of "Sneaky Peter".

References

External links

*imdb name|id=2545185|name=Peter Foster


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