12 Dec 2013

Self-styled Tahiti king detained in raid for illegal currency

1:34 pm on 12 December 2013

Police in French Polynesia have arrested the king of the self-styled Pakumotu republic over the possession and distribution of illegal money.

Teiri Athanase was taken into custody and police searched his home, reportedly seizing hundreds of millions of patu, which he had said he would put into circulation.

This comes a week after a woman belonging to the Pakumotu group was jailed for two months for trying to pay for petrol with an illegal 100 patu note.

Reports from Tahiti say five people were arrested today, including two of the self-styled king's daughters and the Pakumotu finance minister.

The group has been openly defying the French state for three years and it announced in October that the French Pacific franc would cease to exist at the end of this month.

Last week, the prosecutor warned that circulating an invalid currency can be punished with up to five years in prison.