6 Oct 2008

Provincial leader in New Caledonia complains about investigation

6:27 am on 6 October 2008

The president of New Caledonia's southern province, Philippe Gomes

says he will lodge a complaint for defamation after a probe into his financial affairs showed no wrongdoing.

Mr Gomes had been at the centre of a French investigation into alleged money laundering, which saw French police fly to Noumea in May to search his home and business.

His lawyer told the AFP newsagency the special police unit could have verified that all was in order without calling on the prosecutor to look into the matter.

Mr Gomes says there was an orchestrated attempt to damage him

politically, adding that he will launch a police complaint for malicious

slander against unknown persons.

He has distanced himself from a French-sponsored political accord among New Caledonia's anti-independence parties aimed at ironing out differences.