18 Jun 2010

Flosse convicted for corruption in France's highest court

1:29 pm on 18 June 2010

France's highest court has convicted French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, of corruption, upholding a decision by the Tahiti court of appeal that he be given a one-year suspended jail sentence.

Flosse, who is both a member of the French Senate and a member of the French Polynesian assembly, has also been ordered to pay a 12,000 US dollar fine.

The conviction stems from him misusing public funds following the 2004 general election night when he arranged for a large reception for his party at the presidential palace.

However, after the election defeat, he wanted the new government to pay the bill but it refused, so once he had regained power, he settled the account with public funds.

While convicting him, the Paris court threw out the appeal court decision that he in addition be barred from holding public office for a year and referred that aspect of the decision to an appeal court in Paris to be rejudged at a time yet to be set.

Flosse's lawyer told reporters that for the veteran politician to be able to stay in office is more than just a little victory.

Last week, Flosse's lawyer won a case in the constitutional court, which voided a clause that automatically renders corruption convicts ineligible for five years from holding office.