13 Oct 2005

Former French Polynesian president fears plot, writes to Chirac

2:22 pm on 13 October 2005

French Polynesia's ruling Union For Democracy Party says the former president, Gaston Flosse, has written a letter of complaint to Jacques Chirac, claiming to be at the centre of a plot over the purchase of an atoll three years ago.

In a statement, the party accuses Mr Flosse of trying to deceive the public over the purchase of Anuanuraro atoll which his government bought for 9 million US dollars from a leading pearl farmer while its value was five times less.

Two former ministers, Edouard Fritch and Gaston Tong Sang, are under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds and are now banned from meeting each other and talking to each other.

The Union For Democracy says Mr Flosse has so far refused to be questioned by the investigators that arrived from Paris and attempted to derail the probe by sending the investigative judge a copy of the letter sent to President Chirac.

The party says it wants to establish the truth while Mr Flosse's party says there was no wrongdoing.

Last week, Mr Flosse and all but two of his party's assembly members boycotted the sitting in protest at the judicial action being taken over the atoll purchase.