8 Apr 2011

Tahiti court hears Puputauki appeal

11:21 am on 8 April 2011

The appeal court in French Polynesia has heard the case of the former head of the now disbanded GIP intervention force, Rere Puputauki, seeking to overturn his conviction for ignoring labour laws.

Last year, he was given a one-year jail sentence by the criminal court for using dozens of GIP members between 2003 and 2005 to transfer tuna boats from China and South Korea to Tahiti for use in his private business.

The prosecution wants the jail term to be upheld.

The GIP was formed as a militia-like unit by a former president, Gaston Flosse, and provided among other things shipping services but also accommodated an espionage unit, whose activities, although illegal, were tacitly tolerated by the French authorities.

Puputauki ran his business with the wife of one of top French intelligence officers employed by Mr Flosse.

The appeal court will announce its verdict on May the 5th.