19 Sep 2009

Flosse interrogated by investigators in French Polynesia

10:20 am on 19 September 2009

Investigators in French Polynesia have detained the veteran politician Gaston Flosse as part of a corruption probe involving the affairs of the OPT telecommunications company.

They summoned him only hours after he returned from Paris where the French Senate this week upheld his Parliamentary immunity.

Tahitipresse says they are allowed to question him for 36 hours but have to do so without any police presence.

At the same time investigators have again searched his private home in Tahiti and the premises of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira party where they seized a computer.

His immunity was upheld because he had not been formally charged over allegations that he had received two million US dollars in kickbacks for granting contracts to a French advertising agency over a ten year period when he was President.

Should he be charged, the judges are expected to make a further bid to have his immunity lifted which would pave the way for a possible transfer to prison while investigations are being completed.

Four people, including his personal secretary, are being held in Tahiti's prison as part of the corruption probe.