5 Oct 2009

Haiti transferred from Paris jail to French Polynesia

2:46 pm on 5 October 2009

French police have transferred a former French Polynesian minister, Pascale Haiti, from a detention centre near Paris to Tahiti as part of a the OPT corruption probe.

Ms Haiti, who is the partner of the veteran politician Gaston Flosse, is suspected of having destroyed evidence relevant to the investigation which centres on claims that Flosse received kickbacks from a French advertising agency for granting it public sector contracts.

Ms Haiti was arrested in Paris ten days ago and Flosse was officially charged with corruption last week.

Six other people, including Flosse's private secretary, are in Tahiti's prison as part of the corruption probe.

Her detention has prompted many French Polynesian assembly members to write to the French president Nicolas Sarkozy asking him to engage himself so that the women held as part of the investigation keep their honour and integrity.

In the letter, they say Mr Sarkozy also helped win the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician who had been held by rebels for six years.