Viability of Tahiti's OPT trial in the balance

6:14 am on 17 April 2015

The appeal court in French Polynesia is today expected to decide if the latest corruption trial of a former president, Gaston Flosse, should continue.

His defence has argued there is no basis to hold an appeal court sitting which was called yesterday after the prosecution challenged the outcome of the case in the appeal court last year.

The case was thrown out and the convictions were quashed, but the prosecution says the case ended over a technicality without the substance being judged.

Two years ago, Flosse and seven others were convicted over corrupt deals involving the OPT telecommunications company.

Flosse had been given a five-year jail sentence for getting more than two million US dollars in kickbacks for granting public sector contracts to a French businessman, Hubert Haddad.

Gaston Flosse and Hubert Haddad

Gaston Flosse and Hubert Haddad Photo: AFP

After last year's acquittal, Flosse's defence maintains that the case cannot continue and should be abandoned.

A decision by the court is due today.

In 2013, Flosse was elected president and the lawyer who had obtained a court order for the publicly owned OPT to be reimbursed 5.6 million US dollars was dismissed.

The lawyer expressed regret at the time that those convicted for defrauding the OPT could take over key aspects of the case even before they were tried in the appeal court.

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