3 Nov 2009

French Polynesia's Flosse loses parliamentary immunity

11:12 pm on 3 November 2009

The French Polynesian veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, has lost his parliamentary immunity as member of the French Senate.

The decision by the Senate leadership in Paris follows the third request by the public prosecutor in Tahiti and the French justice ministry to strip him of his immunity.

In September, Mr Flosse was charged with corruption over the so-called OPT affair, which centres on claims that his party received kickbacks from a now detained French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad, for granting him public sector contracts.

In July and in September, the Senate refused bids to have his immunity lifted because he had not been formally indicted.

Mr Flosse has said Mr Haddad helped fund the party because it appeared to be the only one that was able to stand up against independence.

He has also rejected claims that he has accumulated wealth, saying his debts exceed his assets, which he says is true and can be verified.

Mr Flosse faces a multitude of investigations and court cases for misuse of public funds and corruption, with convictions all being appealed in France's highest court.