A letter has emerged in French Polynesia in a high-profile child prostitution case, which suggests a defendant has tried to buy off testimony of three alleged victims ahead of this month's appeal court hearing.
A deal was struck between the lawyer of one of the defendants and the lawyer of three alleged victims for them to be paid $US10,000 each to fend off publicity, La Depeche de Tahiti reports.
The letter said the deal was not an admission of guilt, but it would safeguard the three against any damages in case of the defendant being acquitted in the appeal court in two weeks.
The defendant, Thierry Barbion, has been free since September pending the appeal trial after being given a four-year prison sentence for paying money to his former former partner, Sabine Boiron, to get access to minors.
Boiron, who was jailed for seven years, failed in her bid to be released from prison.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the appeal court judge to hear the case has been recused after a challenge by Boiron's lawyer.
A total of 10 people were given jail sentences of up to seven years over Boiron's racket with child prostitution sex and drug dealing.