6 Jun 2005

French Polynesian opposition hits out over plane probe allegations

3:23 pm on 6 June 2005

French Polynesia's opposition has hit out at a government MP, Sabrina Birk, for her remarks at the opening of an assembly inquiry into the disappearance of a plane in the Tuamotu archipelago three years ago.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira says it is irresponsible and nauseating for her to say that the party stood to gain from the disappearance of three senior Fetia Api politicians who vanished with the twin-engine plane.

The Fetia Api lost its leader, Boris Leontieff, and two other assembly members whose wives have called for the assembly to investigate the case after saying that they are not satisfied with the explanations of an earlier probe.

The Tahoeraa has also criticised attempts to draw a parallel between the plane's disappearance and the case of a journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who disappeared in 1997 while working as an advisor to Mr Leontieff.

A new police investigation into Mr Couraud's disappearance has been opened after a former spy responsible to the presidency run by Gaston Flosse claimed that the journalist had been killed.