Former French Polynesia President Acquitted Of Corruption In Atoll Deal

Appeal court reaffirms criminal court decision

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 21, 2016) – French Polynesia's former president Gaston Flosse and a leading pearl producer Robert Wan have been acquitted of corruption charges over the purchase of an atoll at an overvalued price.

The appeal court in Tahiti upheld the decision by the criminal court two years ago which had already cleared the two and four co-accused, including the current president Edouard Fritch.

Flosse was accused of abusing public funds by paying Mr Wan $US nine million to buy Anuanuraro atoll in 2002.

The sum was five times the atoll's value but Flosse's lawyer argued the valuations were incorrect and the embezzlement charges didn't add up.

Flosse also said that it was the then finance minister, Georges Puchon, who approved the purchase.

The prosecution took only Flosse and Mr Wan to the appeal court, wanting to give Flosse a five-year suspended prison sentence and declare him ineligible for public office for five years.

The prosecution has now five days to decide whether to take the matter to France's highest court.

Two years ago, Flosse lost the presidency because of a corruption conviction and he is banned from holding public office until 2019 although he claims he is eligible to stand again in 2018.

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2016 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Add new comment