POLICE RAID BROADENS PAPEETE FRAUD CASE

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Phone company probe implicates Flosse political party

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, July 8, 2009) - Police officers raided Tuesday evening the Papeéte offices of the 2H advertising company owned by businessman Hubert Haddad.

This new development is linked to the investigation for an alleged massive fraud at the French Polynesian telecommunications company OPT [Office of Post and Telecommunications].

Police officers left the premises after a three-hour long search. They made no comments on the current investigation.

They already raided last Tuesday the office of Gaston Flosse’s Tahoeraa huiraatira party in Papeéte.

Several persons, including Haddad, former OPT and Air Tahiti Nui CEO Geffry Salmon and Flosse secretary Melba Ortas, have been jailed over the last weeks.

The investigation focuses on the links between Haddad’s advertising company and the OPT phone book.

The Papeéte prosecutor’s office has officially asked for Senator Flosse’s "parliamentary immunity" to be lifted for this investigation.

Minister of Justice Michèle Alliot-Marie in Paris is now to transfer this request to French Senators.

A special panel of Senators, representing all French political parties, will then vote on the issue.

There is no official deadline but the whole process could reportedly take up to one month.

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