13 Dec 2007

Reporters Without Borders calls for Couraud case to be probed

2:48 pm on 13 December 2007

The French-based journalists organisation Reporters Without Borders has called on the French justice minister to try to get to the bottom of the case of Jean-Pascal Couraud, the Tahitian journalist who vanished ten years ago.

In 2004, the Couraud family lodged a murder complaint against unknown persons after a former spy working for the then president, Gaston Flosse, claimed that Mr Couraud had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

Reporters Without Borders says it is imperative to establish whether Mr Couraud's possible murder was carried out in the national interest.

It has been established that ten years ago Mr Couraud had information about financial transfers from French Polynesia to a Japanese account held by the then President Jacques Chirac - an issue linked to France's so-called Clearstream affair.

The existence of the account became public after records were found in the possession of a former top French intelligence officer, General Philippe Rondot, whose testimony is central to the Clearstream affair.

Last month, the murder probe in French Polynesia was about to be shut down but a new investigative judge has now been appointed.