Flosse in court over Tahiti spy agency

6:00 pm on 24 March 2015

The trial has open in French Polynesia's criminal court of eight people for their involvement in a now defunct espionage service.

Those charged include the disgraced former president, Gaston Flosse, and the agency's heads, Andre Yhuel and Felicien Micheloni.

The spying allegations were first made a decade ago when Oscar Temaru came to power but he later withdrew his complaint.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: AFP

A separate complaint was lodged by a lawyer, Annie Rousseau, while a publisher, Alex du Prel, alleges that by running the unit, Flosse misused ten million US dollars of public funds.

Although the agency's work was illegal, it was condoned by France as it seconded agents from Paris to work for the Flosse team that at one stage included 19 members.

All the documents pertaining to the espionage service were destroyed in 2004 when Flosse lost power.

Three years ago, Flosse was convicted for obstructing the examination of the case and he was fined 16,000 US dollars for destroying the evidence.

The agency is also linked to the surveillance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, who disappeared in 1997 and is suspected to have been killed by Flosse's defunct GIP militia.

Last week, the Tahiti criminal court heard the defamation case brought by Flosse against two journalists of Le Monde for allegedly linking the journalist's disappearance with Flosse.

Last year, Flosse lost all his elected offices because he was given a suspended prison sentence for corruption.

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