23 Sep 2009

Deferral in French Polynesia's fake employees case

11:52 am on 23 September 2009

French Polynesia's examining magistrate has deferred a decision until next week on whether to send the case involving the so-called fake employees to the criminal court.

The case is the biggest of its kind seen in French legal history and involves 94 people, including the territory's former president Gaston Flosse who is accused of abusing public funds to pay people for jobs they didn't perform.

27 members of the former Flosse administration were found to have misspent millions of US dollars during their rule from 1991 to 2004, by keeping on their payroll journalists, unionists and clergy.

Mr Flosse's lawyer has challenged the inquiry and claimed that some alleged wrongdoing was not unlawful.

A decision on whether criminal charges will be laid is due next week - the day before Mr Flosse is to be questioned over the OPT affair, over which he is expected to be charged.