Conman's latest case 'based on PI probe'

·2-min read

Serial conman Peter Foster's latest case has been delayed after a Sydney court was told police are yet to take a statement from the alleged victim, relying instead on a private investigator's probe.

Foster, 58, was arrested in August 2020 while walking his dogs on a Port Douglas beach over allegations he defrauded a Hong Kong man of Bitcoin worth $1.7m.

With a six-month deadline to certify his charges approaching, prosecutors on Thursday asked a Sydney magistrate for more time.

"It's taken quite a lot of time to go through the alleged correspondence between the complainant and the accused," Eric Navea told Central Local Court.

Foster's lawyer opposed the application.

"The whole prosecution relies upon investigations not conducted by the police but a private investigator and his own reasons," lawyer Angelo Bilias said.

"The police have not taken a statement from the complainant themselves. The private investigator has conducted the majority of the investigation and thus my friend (the prosecutor) is now trying to rectify any misguided investigations that may have occurred."

The private investigator in question holds a current private inquiry agent licence with NSW Police, online records show.

Foster is charged with five counts of publishing false or misleading material to obtain an advantage, 10 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime with intent to conceal.

He has been in custody since his arrest.

Magistrate Clare Farnan granted the extension of time, noting it appeared the case was complex.

"It is somewhat curious that in October, the brief was already seen to be non-compliant," she noted, however.

Foster is accused of posing as a man called Bill Dawson and directing a Hong Kong man to send him 120 Bitcoin in 2019 and 2020.

The alleged haul was worth about $US1.141m or $A1.73m in January 2020, when the last transaction allegedly occurred.

At today's prices, it would fetch about $A6.91m.

Foster's case will return to court on March 25.