25 Jul 2014

French Polynesia's Flosse seeks pardon

7:15 am on 25 July 2014

The lawyer for French Polynesia's president has asked the French President, Francois Hollande, for a partial presidential pardon only hours after the country's highest court rejected his appeal to annul a corruption conviction.

Last year, Gaston Flosse was given a suspended four-year jail sentence, a 170,000 US dollar fine and barred from holding a public office for three years.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: RNZ

This came after he was found guilty of running a vast network of phantom employees in the 1990s to enhance his party's influence.

The verdict in Paris was immediately sent to the French High Commission in Tahiti in order to be enacted.

Flosse's lawyer says the judiciary has lost its credibility for now acting so swiftly when it took 20 years to reach a verdict.

Flosse has restated that he is innocent and in a statement, the presidency says the court ruling is also a denial of democracy because the alleged wrongdoing dates back 20 years and voters elected Flosse last year well aware of the situation.

Flosse, who is France's politician with the largest number of convictions, is at the centre of several more corruption cases and investigations.