8 Sep 2009

Tahiti crown claimant at risk of jailing over debt

5:26 pm on 8 September 2009

The French Polynesian man planning to be installed as Tahiti's king, Joinville Pomare, says he is prepared to go to jail over a 20,000 US dollar bond he has failed to pay over a land deal in Mahina.

Due to be paid tomorrow, Mr Pomare says he will make the transfer when it suits him, adding that he is prepared to go to prison to prove to the French state that he is not a thief.

He says he wants to show that France wants to humiliate him as it has his ancestors.

This comes as traditional groups have restricted access to the Tahiti site where Mr Pomare planned to be installed as King Pomare XI.

Mr Pomare has now deferred his planned enthronisation until a date yet to be given.

His claim to become king is also being challenged by other members of the extended Pomare family.

In 1880, King Pomare V signed a treaty with France to allow Paris to govern the archipelago but France no longer recognises any Tahitian royalty.