27 Jul 2012

Flosse trial relocation bid poised to be rejected by French court

7:02 pm on 27 July 2012

Reports from French Polynesia say France's highest court is poised to reject a bid by the veteran politician Gaston Flosse to have two major corruption trials moved away from Tahiti to either Paris or Noumea.

The Nouvelles de Tahiti says a decision will be made in September but the advice is that both trials go ahead in Papeete later this year.

Flosse's lawyers say he won't get a fair hearing in Tahiti but the paper quotes the French advocate general as saying it is incomprehensible for a politician to claim pressure from public opinion.

Flosse, who is also one the territory's two senators, is appealing against a four-year jail sentence and a 110,000 US dollar fine for running a network of phantom jobs to his party's benefit.

The trial was the biggest of its kind in French legal history, implicating a total of 87 people, including top politicians, former and current mayors, unionists, journalists and sports administrators.

In the other case, Flosse is alleged to have received nearly two million US dollars in kickbacks from a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad, for granting him public sector contracts.