8 Aug 2014

16 convictions in Wallis fraud trial

11:58 am on 8 August 2014

The criminal court of Wallis and Futuna has convicted 16 people for defrauding the French government of millions of US dollars in what is being described as the worst ever abuse of the relevant French investment law.

They had been accused of presenting inflated bills and abusing the tax benefits aimed at boosting investment in French overseas territories in 2007 and 2008.

A former New Caledonia-based police officer, Marc Revault, has been given a five year jail sentence, a 670,000 US dollar fine and will have his possessions confiscated.

His partner, Jean-Marc Etchebarre, has been given the same sentence.

Among those convicted is the former secretary of the territorial assembly, Setefano Tafono.

Several business leaders in Wallis and Futuna were also implicated in the scams that amounted to more than 27 million US dollars.

The trial followed a probe which was called after the number of companies involved in public works inexplicably multiplied and purported investments in hotels were found to be non-existent.

no caption

Photo: AFP