12 Jan 2011

Le Monde says contradictions in 1997 Tahiti disappearance probe

6:16 pm on 12 January 2011

Judicial documents sighted by the French newspaper, Le Monde, contradict claims by a former French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, that he had no interest in the activities of a journalist who vanished in 1997.

The findings are part of a probe by a Tahiti-based judge whose investigation into the alleged killing of Jean-Pascal Couraud are in their seventh year.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Gaston Flosse says Jean Pascal Couraud was of no interest to him and in 2004 he told the assembly that he never wished or ordered anybody's death. Document seen by Le Monde, however, show that members of his disbanded and illegal intelligence service told investigators last year that the journalist was someone under surveillance. A similar testimony was given by Mr Flosse's former veteran personal secretary who was briefly jailed as part of a corruption investigation and who confirmed that her boss did have an interest in Mr Couraud. His body has never been found, leaving open the hypothesis that he may have committed suicide."