13 Jan 2011

Tahiti journalist Couraud affair resolution elusive

4:06 pm on 13 January 2011

Reports from French Polynesia say the investigation into the 1997 disappearance of the journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, may end without any conclusion after Japanese authorities reportedly failed to find any evidence of a bank account central to the case.

Sources in Papeete have told the news agency AFP that no charges will emanate from probing claims that a former French President, Jacques Chirac, held an account in Japan.

A French secret service report in 1996 mentioned the account and investigators suspected that its presumed existence and purported link to Tahiti was discovered by the journalist.

A committee set up to try to establish the journalist's fate says testimony and documents collected so far allow to envisage the identification of those who ordered and executed the killing of Jean-Pascal Couraud.

The committee says it regrets that the defence secret has not been lifted for all documents sought by the investigators.

The probe was launched in 2004 when the journalists family lodged a murder complaint, alleging he was killed by members of the now disbanded militia run by the then President, Gaston Flosse.