13 Sep 2007

Further appeal to France over 1997 disappearance of Tahiti journalist

1:55 pm on 13 September 2007

The family of a French Polynesian journalist missing since 1997 have appealed to the French authorities for the release of testimony related to the Clearstream affair.

In 2004, the Couraud family lodged a murder complaint against unknown persons after a former spy working for the then president, Gaston Flosse, claimed that Jean-Pascal Couraud had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

It has now been established that Mr Couraud had information about financial transfers from French Polynesia to a Japanese account held by the then President Jacques Chirac - an issue linked to France's so-called Clearstream affair.

The existence of the account became public after records were found in the possession of a former top French intelligence officer, General Philippe Rondot, whose testimony is central to the Clearstream affair.

Lawyers acting for the Couraud family have appealed after being refused access to the files.

The French Polynesian espionage unit had French secret service agents in its ranks.

So far no charges have been laid in French Polynesia for alleged foulplay but the family says the probe has been sabotaged from inside the judiciary.