21 Oct 2009

Haddad to stay in French Polynesian custody

2:31 pm on 21 October 2009

The French Polynesian judges investigating alleged corruption in the so-called OPT affair have again rejected a bail request by the main suspect, Hubert Haddad, who has been in custody since May.

Mr Haddad, who is a French advertising executive with a diplomatic passport, is accused of paying nearly two million US dollars in kickbacks to the French Polynesian politician, Gaston Flosse, for getting public sector contracts.

Mr Haddad has been transferred from the jail in Tahiti to a Papeete hospital for observation for a suspected heart ailment while he is awaiting to be confronted by another key suspect.

Several personalities have been implicated in the alleged fraud, including Mr Flosse, who is to be questioned again today.

He cannot be arrested as part of the probe because the Senate has refused a request to lift his parliamentary immunity as a member of the French senate.

Last month's conviction in Tahiti, stripping him of his public office, has not been enacted because the French constitutional council is yet to approve the formal process.