4 Dec 2012

New Caledonia court acquits former president of corruption conviction

7:50 pm on 4 December 2012

The appeal court in New Caledonia has acquitted a former president, Philippe Gomes, who in May was given a corruption-related suspended five-month prison sentence.

Mr Gomes, who is now a member of the French National Assembly, was also fined 22,000 US dollars for the way he arranged a 1.3 million US dollar contract for his own company seven years ago when he was the president of the southern province.

His lawyer says the ruling has confirmed that the charges were baseless.

When he was convicted he vowed to challenge the ruling as a matter of honour and questioned how his conviction had come about.

He said for six years, two investigative judges questioned dozens of people linked to the business deal and concluded that there was no evidence of a crime.