5 Jul 2007

Appeal to French minister to help solve mystery disappearance of Tahiti journalist

6:56 pm on 5 July 2007

The family of a French Polynesian journalist missing since 1997 has written to the new French justice minister, Rachida Dati, asking her to assist in efforts to solve the mystery surrounding his disappearance.

In 2004, the Couraud family lodged a murder complaint against unknown persons after a former spy working for the then president, Gaston Flosse, claimed that Jean-Pascal Couraud had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

No charges have been laid for alleged foulplay but the family says the probe has been sabotaged from inside the judiciary.

The family says they have since received testimony from people linked to the spy group to corroborate their belief that Jean-Pascal Couraud was killed.

His lawyer at the time of the abduction allegedly knew that Couraud had information about financial transfers from French Polynesia to a Japanese account held by the then President Jacques Chirac - an issue linked to France's so-called Clearstream affair.

The family says the lawyer, who is still alive, was put under pressure to abandon the matter.

In a letter to the minister, the family asks her to be the guarantor for justice to be done.