TAHITI MINISTER GETS SUSPENDED SENTENCE

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Vernaudon convicted of running 3 businesses, despite bankruptcy

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 6, 2009) - Convicted Youth and Sports Minister Clarenntz Vernaudon is not required to resign because his conviction will not appear on his criminal record, his attorney, Max Gatti, said Tuesday.

Vernaudon, who has held the same ministerial post in the two Tong Sang governments, was convicted in the Papeete Criminal Court Tuesday of running businesses despite being declared personally bankrupt by the Papeete Tribunal de Commerce in April 1999.

The Criminal Court's conviction Tuesday gave Vernaudon a suspended 10-month prison sentence and a 500,000 French Pacific franc (US$5,814/€4,190) fine. The prosecution had requested a three-month suspended prison sentence, but a five million French Pacific franc (US$58,140/€41,900) fine.

Attorney Gatti said he had advised Vernaudon not to appeal the court's verdict.

The Tribunal de Commerce's 1999 ruling declaring Vernaudon personally bankrupt also prohibited him from managing a business of any kind for 10 years, or until April 2009.

However, the Criminal Court found him guilty of having run three businesses—one since 1999, a second since April 2002 and the third since May 2006. The criminal court case against Vernaudon was brought by the Tribunal de Commerce.

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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