26 Oct 2009

OPT suspects claim French Polynesia inducement demands

7:53 am on 26 October 2009

Two of the main suspects in French Polynesia's OPT affair have been interrogated simultaneously by an investigative judge in Papeete.

According to sources quoted by Tahitipresse, Hubert Haddad and Michel Yonker testified that during the era of the Gaston Flosse-led government, no business deal was possible without a payment to his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.

The two - Mr Haddad in Paris and his associate, Mr Yonker, in Tahiti - are alleged to have paid kickbacks to Mr Flosse's party to get public sector contracts.

The reports say that 12,000 US dollars was paid to the party every month from 1993 until about 2005 by giving an envelope with money to Melba

Ortas, who has been the veteran leader's personal secretary.

The two suspects have been in jail for more than five months as part of the probe which the prosecution says has Mr Flosse at the centre of a

pact of corruption.

He has been charged but not cannot be detained because the French senate has refused to lift his parliamentary immunity.