15 Dec 2008

Former police officer main suspect in Wallis and Futuna fraud case

11:45 am on 15 December 2008

The authorities in New Caledonia say the main suspect in the massive defrauding of French state funds in Wallis and Futuna is a former police officer.

New Caledonia's daily newspaper says the unnamed person is now jailed in Noumea as investigations continue into what is being described as completely fictitious claims for tax exemption lodged in Futuna.

The probe initially looked at a dozen individuals alleged to have been involved in the scam, with one person now being held for a variety of abuses.

Last month, it was reported that the French government was defrauded of nearly five million US dollars.

A probe was launched after the number of companies involved in public works inexplicably multiplied this year.