21 Jun 2010

French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, to face another fraud case

6:17 am on 21 June 2010

France's highest court has thrown out a bid by French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, to stop the case involving the so-called fake employees from going to a criminal court.

The case is the biggest of its kind in French legal history and involves dozens of people accused of getting paid from public funds for jobs they didn't perform in the decade up to 2004 when Flosse lost power.

The Nouvelles de Tahiti newspaper says the case is expected to be heard early next year.

The Flosse administration is alleged to have misspent millions of dollars by keeping journalists, unionists and clergymen on its payroll, purporting that they had contracts and were working for the government.

The ruling by the highest appeal court in Paris comes just days after it gave Flosse a one-year suspended jail sentence for misuse of public funds in another case dating back to 2004.

That ruling, however, sent the question of his eligibility to remain in office back to a French appeal court for it to be rejudged.

Despite the conviction, Flosse has not offered to resign and remains both a French Polynesian assembly member and a French senator.