5 Oct 2011

French Polynesia's Flosse sentenced to four years in prison over phantom jobs

8:38 am on 5 October 2011

French Polynesia's criminal court has sentenced the veteran politician Gaston Flosse to four years in prison for abuse of public funds.

Flosse was found guilty of running a vast network of supporters with so-called phantom jobs to advance the policies of his ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party when he was the territory's president.

Today's verdict comes after a trial in May which was the biggest of its kind in French legal history, implicating a total of 87 people, including top politicians, former and current mayors, unionists, journalists and sports administrators.

Among those convicted are also the territory's two members of the French assembly, Michel Buillard and Bruno Sandras, who have been given suspended jail sentences and been banned from holding public office for three years.

The defence had claimed that the case was aimed at ruining the lives of nearly 100 people who had contracts with the presidency approved by successive French high commissioners.