18 Feb 2013

11 take Tahiti phantom job conviction to France's highest court

12:36 pm on 18 February 2013

A total of 11 people convicted in French Polynesia's court of appeal over their roles in the phantom job affair have decided to challenge their sentences in France's highest court.

The first to do so after the trial earlier this month was the former president, Gaston Flosse, who was given a four-year suspended jail sentence and a 170,000 US dollars fine for being part of an illicitly funded system to advance the policies of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party dating back to the 1990s.

The court also deprived him of his civic rights for three years, meaning he cannot contest any elections.

However, by taking the case to Paris, he can still run in the territorial election in April and May.

A ruling in Paris is expected before the end of the year and its verdict takes immediate effect.

The phantom job case was the biggest of its kind in French legal history and initially involved more than 80 people, with 42 of them appealing against their conviction.