6 Jun 2014

Tahiti president brushes off jail sentence threat

1:36 pm on 6 June 2014

The French Polynesian president Gaston Flosse says he is not concerned about the proseuction's call for him to be given a two-year jail sentence and a 110,000 US dollar fine for abuse of public funds.

The criminal court in Papeete has heard a total of six people accused of corruption over an atoll purchase 12 years ago.

They are jointly accused of having abused public funds by buying Anuanuraro atoll off a leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, for nine million US dollars which was five times its value.

The defence says it wants the six to be all acquitted, describing the atoll purchase as a political decision to build up a land reserve.

A ruling in this case is expected in September.

Later this month, Gaston Flosse will appear in the court of appeal to challenge a five-year prison sentence and a 110,000 US dollar fine for corruption.

The case revolves around two million US dollars in kickbacks over 12 years to Mr Flosse and his party in return for a French advertising executive getting public sector contracts.

A ruling in France's highest court has been pending for more than a year in another major corrpution case, which if his appeal is lost, spells the end of his political career.