4 Dec 2008

Corruption conviction means French Polynesian mayor loses job

6:01 pm on 4 December 2008

The mayor of Mahina in French Polynesia, Emile Vernaudon, has lost his job after the highest court in France upheld his conviction for a corrupt land deal.

The ruling means that apart from fresh mayoral elections in Mahina, Vernaudon will have to pay a 40,000 US dollar fine.

He was given a one-year suspended jail sentence and will now lose his civic rights for a year.

In March, Vernaudon made history by becoming the first person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor while being in jail.

The Mahina council installed him in office by placing a ribbon around his photograph in the mayor's chair.

He missed the election because he was jailed for four months as part of an ongoing investigation into theft and fraud dating back to his time as minister in charge of telecommunications and the postal service.