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Former president fined $16,000 for destroying evidence

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 29, 2010) – French Polynesia’s appeal court has upheld the conviction of a former president, Gaston Flosse, for obstructing the examination of a now defunct intelligence unit, which he ran a decade ago.

In May, the veteran politician was fined US$16,000 by the criminal court in Papeete for destroying all evidence pertinent to his espionage service.

The case was launched after a probe by the accounts office into the running of his former administration which found that all records of the unit’s work had vanished after his election loss in 2004.

The intelligence service was tasked with keeping a tab on political rivals, including journalists.

Although the unit’s work was illegal, it was condoned by France as it seconded agents from Paris to work for Mr Flosse’s team.

Mr Flosse’s lawyer said after the first trial that there was no evidence that Mr Flosse committed any crime.

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