21 Oct 2011

French Polynesia's Vernaudon loses Order of Merit membership

10:27 am on 21 October 2011

France has stripped a jailed French Polynesian politician, Emile Vernaudon, of his membership of the French National Order of Merit bestowed on him in 2000.

This follows his conviction in June in the court of appeal on serious corruption charges which led to him being jailed for five years.

The National Order provides for the exclusion of a member if they are sentenced to prison for a year or more.

Vernaudon had been honoured as long-term mayor of Mahina and member of the French National Assembly.

In 2008, he made legal history by becoming the first person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor while in jail.

At the time he was held for several months in connection with a probe into alleged fraud.

In his absence, the Mahina council installed him in office by placing a ribbon around his photograph in the mayor's chair.