15 Oct 2010

Flosse appeal heard in French Polynesia intelligence service case

11:23 am on 15 October 2010

The criminal court in French Polynesia has heard an appeal by a former president, Gaston Flosse, who in May had been fined 16,000 US dollars for obstructing the examination of a now defunct intelligence unit, which he ran a decade ago.

His lawyer has told local radio that there is no evidence that Mr Flosse has committed any crime.

A verdict is expected in two weeks.

In May, the veteran politician was found guilty of destroying evidence pertinent to the espionage service, whose staff included former French intelligence officers.

A probe of the accounts office into the running of the administration found that all records of the unit's work had vanished after his election loss in 2004.

It was also revealed that computer hard drives were wiped clean.

The intelligence service, which was linked to the presidency and ran an office in the Papeete port, was tasked with keeping a tab on political rivals.