19 Jan 2011

French Polynesia's Vernaudon sentenced over OPT affair

10:04 am on 19 January 2011

The criminal court in French Polynesia has sentenced a veteran politician, Emile Vernaudon, to five years in prison for the abuse of funds at the state-owned telecommunications company, OPT.

As former government minister and chairman of the OPT board, Emile Vernaudon was found to have overseen the misspending of 1.4 million US dollars between 2004 and 2006.

Tahitipresse says he has been transferred to the Nuutania prison.

In 2007, Vernaudon was in prison for four months as part of the OPT investigation and made history in early 2008 when he became the first jailed person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor.

He lost the Mahina mayoralty because of a corruption conviction but yesterday he launched his campaign to regain the mayor's job which he first held in 1977.