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Williams: SFO has all the info it needs to clear Peters' name

Saturday 30 Aug 2008 12:00a.m.

Williams: SFO has all the info it needs to clear Peters' name

Peter Williams, the man representing Winston Peters says he has given the Serious Fraud Office all the information it needs to exonerate the New Zealand First Leader as soon as possible.

Peters stood down from his ministerial portfolios yesterday while the SFO investigates claims he mishandled donations to his party.

Mr Williams said he would have no worries getting his client off the hook.

"We have information that completely clears Mr Peters on this matter no doubt about it whatsoever. He has been the victim of a witch hunt with a feeding frenzy."

Wlliams is understood to have handed over documents attempting to show donations made by the wealthy Vela family and Sir Robert Jones went to and were used by New Zealand First as intended.

On Thursday, Peters told the SFO to put up or shut up. Today his lawyer was much more diplomatic.

"I have confidence in them. I've found them cordial and receptive and I have confidence in their ability to reach a fair and proper result," Mr Williams said.

The now former foreign minister was keeping a low profile today. He declined all media requests and he had no official engagements. A spokesman told 3 News he was tired after a long day yesterday.

His boss, Helen Clark was also off limits, declining all interviews. Last night, while announcing Peters decision, she said she could understand his hurt.

"In politics, all each of us has is our reputation and obviously Mr Peters is very keen as any of us would be to defend his reputation," Ms Clark said.

But she confirmed Peters will keep the baubles office while under investigation - that includes his ministerial chauffeur driven car, his Wellington house and salary.

She told 3 News he has simply stepped aside from his portfolios but not resigned as a minister.

The man who lodged the SFO complaint, ACT leader Rodney Hide said that was not on.

"She's stood him down but she hasn't cut off his baubles, so Winston's got all the perks and title of a minister he just hasn't got any of the work which will probably suit Winston perfectly - no work, all baubles," Mr Hide said.

If Peters was so confident he had the evidence he should make it public and let the voters decide, he said.

3 News

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