1 Mar 2013

Tahiti's Fritch charged with abuse of public funds

10:51 am on 1 March 2013

A leading French Polynesian politician, Edouard Fritch, has been charged with abuse of public funds over contributions to a radio station when he was the mayor of Pirae five years ago.

Mr Fritch is one of the territory's three members of the French National Assembly and was the territory's vice-president during the era when the Tahoeraa Huiraatira was the dominant political party.

He is accused of diverting more than 150,000 US dollars to Radio Maohi which was allied to his party.

Investigators have queried the appropriateness of such funding given its political links.

Mr Fritch's lawyer says the contribution was accounted for and approved.

Mr Fritch is expected to top of the Tahoeraa list in his electorate when voters to to the polls in April to choose a new territorial assembly.