22 Sep 2011

French Polynesia's Flosse convicted in spy probe obstruction case

10:24 am on 22 September 2011

France's highest court has upheld the conviction of a former French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, for obstructing the examination of a now defunct intelligence unit, which he ran a decade ago.

In May last year, the veteran politician and member of the French senate was fined 16,000 US dollars by the criminal court in Papeete for destroying all evidence pertinent to his espionage service.

He lost the appeal in Tahiti in October and took the case to France.

The case was launched after a probe by the accounts office into the running of his former administration which found that all records of the unit's work had vanished after his election loss in 2004.

The intelligence service was tasked with keeping a tab on political rivals, including journalists.

Although the unit's work was illegal, it was condoned by France as it seconded agents from Paris to work for Flosse's team.

Flosse's lawyer said after the first trial that there was no evidence that Flosse committed any crime.