Anuanuraro atoll sale case goes back to Tahiti court

2:23 pm on 27 February 2015

There will be a fresh trial in French Polynesia over the controversial 2002 sale of Anuanuraro atoll by a leading pearl producer.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: AFP

Last year, the former president, Gaston Flosse, and five other defendants, had been acquitted of charges of abuse of public funds for paying nine million US dollars for the atoll, which was five times its value.

The prosecution has challenged the acquittal and the appeal court is now to hold a fresh trial on November the 18th.

Those accused include the current president, Edouard Fritch, and another former president, Gaston Tong Sang, who was the lands minister at the time of the transaction.

Last year, Flosse's lawyer said the purchase was never a matter to be dealt with under criminal law, arguing that as constitutional principle the government of the day could acquire land as a reserve.

In September, Flosse was stripped of all his offices by France's highest court because of a corruption sentence.