19 Nov 2018

New Caledonia's Martin to face Paris court over land sale

6:50 pm on 19 November 2018

A former president of New Caledonia Harold Martin is being taken to the highest court in France over an alleged conflict of interest in a land sale.

This comes just days after the Court of Appeal in Noumea had quashed the sentence given to him last year.

Paita, north of Noumea

Paita, north of Noumea Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

He had been given a suspended two-month prison sentence, fined $US50,000 and declared ineligible to hold public office for two years.

The prosecution decided to challenge the Appeal Court ruling by sending the case to Paris.

Five years ago, judges had put Mr Martin under formal investigation over the 2008 rezoning of land, which he and his siblings had sold in Paita a year earlier.

The rezoning to clear the land for a commercial development was approved by Mr Martin in his capacity as mayor of Paita.

Earlier, he said it was his right to sell the land, which had been in the family since 1860.