3 Sep 2014

Tahiti President acquitted in atoll case

9:03 am on 3 September 2014

The President of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, has been acquitted of corruption over the purchase of an atoll at an overvalued price.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: AFP

Flosse, along with five other defendants, were accused of abusing public funds by paying a leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, nine million US dollars to buy Anuanuraro atoll.

The six accused include a former president Gaston Tong Sang who was the lands minister at the time and Georges Puchon, who was in charge of finance.

The sum was five times the atoll's value but Mr Flosse's lawyer argued the valuations were incorrect and the embezzlement charges didn't add up.

The court has found all defendants not guilty.

In July, Flosse was stripped of all his offices by France's highest court because of corruption, but the French government has refused to serve the sentence, and has accepted his application to seek a presidential pardon.