17 Feb 2012

Jail sentence upheld for French Polynesia's Puputauki over GIP boat transfer

5:56 pm on 17 February 2012

France's highest court has upheld the prison sentence for the former head of French Polynesia's disbanded GIP intervention force, Rere Puputauki, who appealed against his conviction for ignoring labour laws.

Tahiti's two daily newspapers say the verdict was issued in Paris at the end of January.

Two years ago, he was given a one-year jail sentence by the criminal court for using dozens of GIP members between 2003 and 2005 to transfer tuna boats from China and South Korea to Tahiti for use in his private business.

Puputauki ran his business with the wife of one of top French intelligence officers employed by a former president, Gaston Flosse.

The GIP was formed as a militia-like unit by Mr Flosse, and provided among other things shipping services but also accommodated an espionage unit, whose activities, although illegal, were tacitly tolerated by the French authorities.