23 Dec 2008

Opposition to release of files wanted by inquiry into French Polynesian journalist’s alleged murder

8:25 pm on 23 December 2008

The French commission dealing with secret information has spoken out against the release of 13 documents sought by a judge in a French Polynesian investigation into the murder of a Tahiti journalist Jean-Pascale Couraud be not declassified.

The journalist vanished 11 years ago but in 2004, his family lodged a complaint for murder after a man linked to an illegal local espionage service claimed he had been kidnapped and drowned.

The investigation, led by a Tahiti-based judge, has been looking at a possible link to allegations made by a top French secret service official who claimed that France's former president, Jacques Chirac, had a bank account in Japan.

But Mr Couraud's former lawyer, Dominique des Arcis, says at the time of the journalist's disappearance, he was not pursuing any alleged financial links between Tahiti and any Japanese account in the name of Mr Chirac.

While recommending that the secret service withhold 13 documents, the French commission has approved the application for 13 other documents to be declassified.

The French Polynesian president at the time of the journalist's disappearance, Gaston Flosse, told the assembly in Tahiti in 2004 that he never wished nor ordered anybody's death.