By One News / TVNZ and is republished with permission
Former Warriors and Kiwis rugby league star Manu Vatuvei has outed himself as the sports star facing drug charges.
“In 2019, I was charged with importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine,” he said.
“All these charges are accusations and I’ll be fighting [for] my innocence for all these charges.”
Vatuvei acknowledged there would have questions but said his legal team had advised him that that was the only public comment he could make.
Last week, Vatuvei had his bid for suppression declined in the High Court, with 1 NEWS unable to name him prior to his Instagram video because of a continuing suppression that allowed him time to appeal.
Vatuvei faces three charges of importing methamphetamine, three charges of possessing for supply and one charge of supply. He first appeared in court in in November 2019.
He has previously pleaded not guilty.
After charges were laid, police said the arrests came after a joint Police and Customs operation delving into methamphetamine supply.
A search warrant was executed at a Papatoetoe address.
The maximum penalty for possessing methamphetamine for supply is a life sentence.
The dates of his alleged offending come not long after Vatuvei was formally farewelled from rugby league in July 2019.
The Warriors and Kiwi great, who was affectionately known as ‘The Beast’, scored a club-record 152 tries in 226 appearances for the Warriors.
He scored 22 tries for the Kiwis in 29 Tests.
He later turned for a time to a career in real estate after winning a season of Dancing with the Stars.
Kuo fakahā ‘e Manu Vatuvei ko e fetu’u hopo ia ‘i he mala’eva’inga ‘akapulu ko ia ‘a e tokotaha ne tapui hono hingoa ke fakahā ‘e he mitia hili e tukuaki’i kuo ‘i ai ‘a e tokotaha sipoti ‘iloa na’a’ ne hū mai, tauhi mo tufaki ‘a e faito’o konatapu ‘i he 2019. Ka ne ma’u ‘e he kau polisi’ ‘a e hia ko ‘eni’ hili ha’anau ngāue vāofi mo e kasitomu’ ‘o ‘ohofi mo hua ha ‘api ‘i Papatoetoe. Pehē ‘e Vatuvei’ ko e tukuaki’i pe ‘eni pea te ne fuhu’i ‘ene totonu he fakamaau’anga’.