28 Mar 2011

Paris court overturns Tahiti politicians' reimbursement orders

2:21 pm on 28 March 2011

A court in Paris has reversed a ruling made in French Polynesia in 2009 which ordered the veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, and 23 others to repay 2.8 million US dollars of public funds.

The accounts office in Tahiti had found that Mr Flosse had authorised misspending that benefitted party members, including the former vice president, Edouard Fritch, and the territorys two members of the French assembly, Bruno Sandras and Michel Buillard.

But the Paris accounts office has found that the Tahiti office had acted improperly when it ordered the politicians to repay between 100,000 and 300,000 US dollars each.

The decision comes just days after the lawyer for Mr Flosse said he would file papers to challenge the constitutionality of an impending court case involving so-called 84 fake employees.

The lawyer made the comment after a Paris court gave a reprieve to a former French president, Jacques Chirac, who has been charged with channelling public money into phantom jobs for political cronies while he was the mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995.