15 Mar 2013

Tahiti compensation case over Leontieff disappearance rebuffed

12:46 pm on 15 March 2013

A court in French Polynesia has rejected a request for compensation to be paid to the widow of Boris Leontieff, the opposition politician who vanished 11 years ago.

He was among four politicians, whose plane disappeared during an election campaign trip in the Tuamotu archipelago.

Investigations have failed to conclude what happened, with theories suggesting the pilot lacked experience and may have encountered fuel problems.

At the time, the politicians' wives even approached the French president to explore if the United States took satellite images of the Tuamotus at the time of the presumed crash.

The judicial investigation into the disappearance was closed two years ago.

Their lawyer, James Lau, told a local newspaper that it was established that Mr Leontieff was under surveillance by the secret service of then president, Gaston Flosse.

Mr Lau says the same spying effort was directed at Mr Leontieff's advisor and journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who also vanished without leaving a trace in 1997.