6 Mar 2006

French Polynesia's former President investigated over alleged abuse of public funds

7:18 am on 6 March 2006

Investigators in French Polynesia have begun investigating the territory's former president, Gaston Flosse, over the alleged abuse of public funds to buy an atoll in 2002.

This comes five months after other senior politicians of Mr

Flosse's party were put under scrutiny for buying Anuanuraro atoll from a leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, for 9 million US dollars while its reported value was five times less.

When the probe was launched, Mr Flosse said there was never been any abuse of public funds involved in purchasing the atoll.

Last year, two former ministers and current assembly members, Edouard Fritch and Gaston Tong Sang, were briefly banned from meeting each other because of the investigation.