Two men jailed in French Polynesia over a racket involving child prostitution and drug trafficking have failed in their court bid to leave prison.
The two businessmen, Thierry Barbion and Marc Ramel, both serving four-year jail terms, wanted to be free while their appeal was pending in France's highest court.
However, the court of appeal in Tahiti refused their request.
Last year, the two men had been allowed out of jail within days of being convicted in the criminal court and were free pending the outcome of their initial appeal.
The central figure in the affair, Sabine Boiron, had been sentenced to seven years in prison and has been serving her time since last year.
She was jailed for supplying methamphetamine to females as young as 13, who for payment to her, then had sex with Barbion and Ramel.
In the appeal court trial, the men said they were unaware how young the girls were.
Barbion's lawyer was quoted as saying it was surreal to seek to jail a man for four years for prostitution with a minor.
Meanwhile an investigation is still underway into possible witness tampering.
This followed a report that Barbion's lawyer and the lawyer of three alleged victims agreed for them to be paid $US10,000 each to fend off further publicity.