10 Nov 2010

Former Tahiti spy boss explains unit's role

12:02 pm on 10 November 2010

The former French head of French Polynesia's disbanded intelligence unit, Felicien Micheloni, has given an interview to a news site in Corsica, defending his role in spying on rivals of the then President Gaston Flosse.

Mr Micheloni, who now lives in Corsica, says he was never told that it was forbidden for his unit to follow, record and photogragh people in public or at political meetings.

He says his unit only worked during the day and never entered homes to place microphones.

The interview was published two weeks after the court of appeal in Tahiti upheld a fine for Mr Flosse for having obstructed a probe into the defunct intelligence unit, whose records have all disappeared or been wiped.

Mr Micheloni also says his unit never followed local journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud, who vanished in 1997 and whose family lodged a murder complaint in 2004.

He says he has no explanation as to why the journalist disappeared.

Mr Micheloni, who is indicted over the affair and due for questioning in Papeete early next year, says he agreed to be interviewed because he has had enough and people stare at him.