12 Dec 2007

French Polynesia's Vernaudon remains in detention

1:32 pm on 12 December 2007

A French Polynesian party leader at the centre of an embezzlement probe has appeared in court but been kept in remand.

Emile Vernaudon was arrested last week amid allegations of abusing huge sums as minister in charge of the postal and telecommunications sector.

According to the Tahitipresse news agency, his lawyer has labelled the legal action as a political move in a bid to prevent Mr Vernaudon from standing in next month's early general election.

The prosecutor expressed surprise at the allegation, saying the judiciary is not tough as the former minister is alleged to have misused more than a million US dollars.