24 May 2011

French Polynesia's Leontieff disappearance file closed

1:16 pm on 24 May 2011

The judicial investigation in French Polynesia into the disappearance of four politicians nine years ago has been closed without any result.

Among those who vanished were two leading opposition politicians at the time, Boris Leontieff and Lucien Kimitete, who were travelling in small plane in the Tuamotu archipelago when it disappeared without a trace.

Investigations have failed to conclude why and how the small plane disappeared, with theories suggesting the pilot lacked experience and may have encountered fuel problems.

There has been speculation that there may have been foul play or that the aircraft may have been diverted.

The politicians' wives even approached the French president to explore if the United States took satellite images of the Tuamotus at the time of the presumed crash.

Their lawyer, James Lau, has told a local newspaper that it was established that Mr Leontieff was under surveillance by the secret service of then president, Gaston Flosse.

Mr Lau says the same spying effort was directed at Mr Leontieff's advisor and journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who also vanished without leaving a trace