2 Dec 2009

French Polynesia's OPT probe into Vernaudon's dealings concluded

12:31 pm on 2 December 2009

A two-year probe into the alleged abuse of funds of French Polynesia's OPT telecommunications company has been concluded, with prosecutors expected to prepare charges within the next three months.

The probe has focussed on a former government minister, Emile Vernaudon, who as chairman of the OPT board has been found to have misspent 1.4 million US dollars between 2004 and 2006.

The investigation followed a check by the accounts office in 2007 which found massive irregularities to the benefit of Mr Vernaudon and his political grouping.

It found among other things that he claimed reimbursement for restaurant meals while he was in hospital, and that he billed the OPT for car fuel, pretending he had driven his vehicle 125,000 kilometres in one year.

In 2007, he was jailed for four months as part of the probe and made history last year when he became the first jailed person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor.