Patu currency case due in Tahiti court
A court in French Polynesia is due to hear the case of the king of the self-styled Pakumotu Republic, who is charged with the possession and distribution of illegal money.
A court in French Polynesia is tomorrow due to hear the case of the king of the self-styled Pakumotu republic, Athanase Teiri, after police last year arrested him over the possession and distribution of illegal money.
Police had seized millions of illegal patu at his home.
A woman belonging to his group has already been given a two-month jail sentence for trying to pay for petrol with an illegal 100 patu note.
A Tahiti-based Frenchman, Rene Hoffer, told Walter Zweifel he wants to use the court case to show that if the patu is illegal then the Pacific franc is illegal as well.
RENE HOFFER: Article 111-1 of the code monetaire et financier says the money of France is the euro. So all I'm saying is that article should say, at least, the money of France is the euro and blah blah blah [etcetera] - franc pacifique, XPF, you name it. I've just got this very simple sentence: la monnaie de la France, c'est l'euro, just euro. And a few hours ago in France, the French president Francois Hollande said 'There is only one France', 'Il n'y a qu'une France.' So I say if there is only one France and if the euro is the currency of France, well it's only the euro in France.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: The counter argument can be very simple. There is also a French Polynesia, a New Caledonia and a Wallis and Futuna - why can't these territories have a separate currency?
RH: Ok, are they France or are they not France? If they are France, it's the euro. If they are not France, the French judges have nothing to do tomorrow. They just pack their luggage and they keep moving on and lead their life wherever.
WZ: So your argument is that there cannot be two currencies within a jurisdiction that has one French law and one French legal system.
RH: I don't speak of French law or French legal system. Here we are on the money and I read, very simply, the money of France is the euro. The money, singular, not the monies of France are euros and the Pacific franc. That would be very simple to write it. If it were expressed like this it would mean that in Strasbourg I can pay with my blah blah blah [etcetera] francs, patus or colonies du pacifique francs.
WZ: With this court case, is your intervention, criticism or observation likely to be considered?
RH: They must because I do have patus. I accept patus. So if the judge in this case says by having patus in my wallet, I will have to go to jail, I better participate in his case to defend the position. Number one, I don't want to lose my patu and number two I don't want to be again jailed because I use patus and I accept patus.
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