24 Nov 2011

Tahiti's Flosse wins Paris appeal against ineligibility sentence

2:34 pm on 24 November 2011

French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse has retained his seat in the French Senate after the court of appeal in Paris overturned a ruling that he be stripped of his public offices for a year.

The veteran politician's conviction for misusing public funds was in court last month and heard behind closed doors in what observers say was highly unusual.

The appeal court has overturned part of the verdict which ordered him to quit his seat in the Senate and in French Polynesia's assembly.

Three years ago, Flosse was given a suspended one-year jail sentence for using public funds to pay for his party's 2004 general election night reception.

He was fined less than the sum he misspent.

Flosse's appeal was based on him challenging the constitutional link between a corruption conviction and an automatic disqualification from office.

Last month, Flosse appealed a conviction in another case after being sentenced to four years in prison for running a vast network of phantom employees to promote his political party.