3 Apr 2008

Jailed mayor of Mahina in French Polynesia could be released today

8:08 am on 3 April 2008

There is an expectation in French Polynesia that the jailed mayor of Mahina, Emile Vernaudon, will today be released.

Mr Vernaudon has been in prison since December as part of an investigation into alleged fraud and theft during his time as government minister.

The prosecution has said that he may be released.

Last month, he became the first jailed person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor.

The Mahina council then installed him in office by placing a ribbon around his photograph in the mayor's chair.

Mr Vernaudon is a key member of the opposition To Tatou Aia coalition which is the local partner of France's ruling UMP Party.