6 Dec 2007

Political veteran in French Polynesia in police custody

4:17 pm on 6 December 2007

A veteran politician in French Polynesia, Emile Vernaudon, was arrested and temporarily jailed yesterday following a court order.

A judge issued the arrest warrant as part of an enquiry into allegations of misappropriation of public funds, larceny and forgery of documents at the Post and Telecommunications Office from 2002 to 2006.

Mr Vernaudon was the chair of the agency at that time and the inquiry

found that he spent 1 point 4 million US dollars on personal expenses.

Our correspondent, Patrick Decloitre, says the judges' decision to keep Mr Vernaudon in custody ahead of a trial is radical.

"For some reason, the judge has seen it fit to keep him in custody and therefore last night he was taken to the Papeete jail, where he still is at the moment."

Patrick Decloitre says it is unclear how long Mr Vernaudon will be remanded in custody and says a trial date has not been set.

Emile Vernaudon denies all allegations.