10 Sep 2009

Detention of Flosse secretary continues

6:52 pm on 10 September 2009

The French Polynesian judicial authorities have again rejected a request to release the personal secretary of the veteran politician, Gaston Flosse.

Melba Ortas was jailed in July as part of a probe into the affairs of Tahiti's state-owned OPT telecommunications company, joining several high-profile figures in detention as investigative judges probe corruption allegations.

Her lawyer says she is being held as part of a strategy to jail Mr Flosse whose immunity as French senator will be re-considered on Tuesday.

A jailed French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad, has been accused of paying nearly two million US dollars in kickbacks to Mr Flosse for getting public sector contracts.

Tahitipresse says Mr Haddad, who has been in Tahiti's jail since June, has today been taken to hospital for a check-up.

His right-hand man, Michel Yonker, has again been questioned.

In recent weeks, the investigators have carried out a large number of searchers, including some at the Socredo bank in Papeete.