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Embattled former French Polynesia president to appeal

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 4, 2010) - The Papeete Criminal Court sentenced veteran Tahitian politician Gaston Flosse to a US$16,340(€ 12,570) fine for obstructing a probe on a now disbanded intelligence unit.

This comes after Tahiti's Audit Chamber tried to get more information on the SED (service études et documentations).

The SED was linked to the President's office, when Flosse was French Polynesia President until 2004.

This intelligence unit was reportedly closely monitoring political rivals.

But many documents related to this unit have vanished and some computer hard drives have been wiped clean as well.

[PIR editor’s note: Previous report on Tahitipresse stated that Sen. Flosse was indicted on Sept. 30, 2009 on charges of receiving bribes, the misuse of corporate assets and complicity in the destruction of evidence in connection with the investigation of the French Polynesia Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT). See story.]

Flosse claimed he did not give any orders to destroy documents.

The Papeete prosecutor had called for a US$16,340/€ 12,570 fine during a hearing last March.

Flosse's attorney told reporters he will probably appeal the ruling.

The 78-year-old Senator was Tahiti's president from 1984-2004.

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