28 Oct 2009

Former assembly member Tetuanui detained in French Polynesia probe

2:31 pm on 28 October 2009

Investigators in French Polynesia have questioned at length a former assembly member, Noa Tetuanui, amid a probe of the affairs of a French advertising agency linked to alleged corruption.

According to Les Nouvelles de Tahiti newspaper, the investigators want to see if there is a link between a 500,000 US dollar loan given by the agency to the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party leader, Gaston Flosse, in 2004 and Mr Tetuanui.

Mr Tetuanui quit the then ruling coalition led by Oscar Temaru to give the one vote needed for a no confidence motion brought by Mr Flosse to succeed.

After losing the vote, Mr Temaru lodged a complaint and refused for weeks to vacate the presidency.

This led to a phase of political turmoil, with three men, including Mr Flosse, simultaneously claiming to be the lawful president.

Mr Tetuanui switched sides after he claimed that Mr Temaru was incompetent and denied that he was offered an inducement to bring down the government.

At the time, Mr Tetuanui also said he would take legal action for defamation and seek compensation from the French press for having soiled his name without having any proof.