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Former president prosecuted for creating ‘phantom jobs’

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Oct. 4, 2011) - A Criminal Court sentenced senator Gaston Flosse to a four-year jail term in the "phantoms jobs case" Tuesday in Papeete.

Flosse, 80, who is one of the two French Polynesia senators, was Tahiti's president throughout the 1990's.

He was prosecuted for creating a network of phantom jobs during that period.

All these persons, politicians but also trade union leaders, were paid to back Flosse's Tahoeraa party, the prosecution said.

A total of 87 persons were in the end prosecuted, but only 56 of them were sentenced by the Criminal Court.

Flosse's lawyer, Attorney Yves Piriou, said he will appeal the case.

He claimed the Criminal Court sentence is nothing else than a political decision against Flosse.

Former Assembly Speaker Justin Arapari and four pro-autonomy Assembly members, including Jean-Christophe Bouissou, who leads the Ia Ora Te Fenua Group, were sentenced to suspended jail terms.

Tahiti's two deputies in the French National Assembly, Papeete mayor Michel Buillard and Bruno Sandras, were also sentenced to suspended jail terms. Most of the sentences also included important fines.

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