3 Apr 2014

French Polynesia president loses parliamentary immunity

3:10 pm on 3 April 2014

The French Senate has lifted the parliamentary immunity of French Polynesia's president, Gaston Flosse, who in February was charged with abuse of public funds by arranging free water supply to his residence.

The decision in Paris means he can be detained for questioning and may be banned from communicating with other people charged over the same issue.

He is alleged to have deprived the township of Pirae of more than 100,000 US dollars a year by securing free water for himself and 22 other nearby villas.

Gaston Flosse, who was the mayor of Pirae for 35 years, was charged along with his son-in-law, Edouard Fritch, who succeeded him in 2001.

His parliamentary immunity has been lifted several times and he has been repeatedly convicted for corruption, but all sentences are being appealed.

The next ruling affecting the president is due in June when the court will decide whether he abused public funds over the purchase of Anuanuraro atoll.