20 Dec 2007

Lawyer's office searched in case of missing French Polynesian journalist

8:18 pm on 20 December 2007

Reports from French Polynesia say investigators have searched the offices of a lawyer, Jean-Dominique des Arcis, and seized documents as part of an inquiry into the disappearance of a Tahitian journalist ten years ago.

Jean-Pascal Couraud vanished in circumstances that implicate an illegal espionage unit that had ties to the French authorities.

The lawyer, who used to act for Mr Couraud, had recently given conflicting accounts of what happened ten years ago.

He has this week been questioned again and documents have been taken from his offices.

The probe into the disappareance was to be shut down last month but a new investigative judge is now in charge of the case.

It has 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.