TAHITI JUDGES TO CHARGE FORMER PRESIDENT

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Flosse faces prosecution over $2 million in kickbacks

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 20, 2009) – Investigative judges in French Polynesia are set to formally charge the veteran politician Gaston Flosse in the middle of next week in connection with what the prosecution in Tahiti claims is a pact of corruption.

The investigation centres on allegations that when he was the territory’s president, he received two million US dollars in kickbacks for granting public sector contracts to a French advertising agency.

Once charged, the judges can make a third bid to have his immunity as senator lifted which would pave the way of a possible arrest.

Four suspects are already in jail, as part of the corruption probe.

Last week, the Senate leadership refused to lift Mr Flosse’s immunity, saying for it to do so, he has to be charged first.

In July, the Senate only allowed for Mr Flosse to be questioned twice but ruled out any possible arrest.

Returning to Papeete from Paris at the end of last week, Mr Flosse said he hadn’t stolen anything.

Two days ago, he was questioned in Papeete for several hours, and investigators again searched his residence, his son-in-law’s home and his Tahoeraa Huiraatira party’s premises where a computer was seized.

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