20 Oct 2015

New tax fraud case in Wallis

3:35 pm on 20 October 2015

The French state is to be a civil party in a second major tax fraud case in the French territory of Wallis and Futuna.

In an earlier case that went to court last year, a former policeman, Marc Revault, and an overseas tax specialist, Jean-Marc Etchebarne, were sentenced to three years in prison for defrauding the public purse of about US$26 million with fake invoices and insurance receipts.

New Caledonia's public broadcaster says a glitch meant that the French state missed that trial but that it will join the next one as a civil party when it goes to court next year.

It says the new case relates to fraud of similar sums and involves such a large number of accused that the trial will have to be shifted to Noumea.

Last year's fraud case was described as the worst ever abuse of the relevant French investment law.

The scam was discovered after a probe that found the number of companies involved in public works inexplicably multiplied and purported investments in hotels were found to be non-existent.

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