22 Aug 2012

Doubts over Russian bid for Tahiti hotel

3:58 am on 22 August 2012

There is doubt in French Polynesia that a Russian bid will prevent the closure of one of Tahiti's main hotels.

This comes amid a debate whether the Sofitel Maeva Beach hotel could be saved if converted into a casino.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The president Oscar Temaru has stunned the public with news that he is talks with unnamed Russians to save the hotel with its more than 100 employees."

He has dismissed a plan by a local businessman to convert the hotel into a casino, saying occult powers are at play while the businessman claims that he is guided by divine forces.

The churches have also spoken out against the idea of casinos, which Mr Temaru says is not on the Russians' agenda.

The opposition has mocked the proposal, suggesting there is only hope that they won't wake up one day to Russian roulette.