8 Jan 2009

French Polynesian family reveals more about missing journalist's case

4:02 pm on 8 January 2009

The family of a Tahitian journalist who vanished in 1997 says they have no doubt that there was a link between a secret French Polynesian police system and Jean-Pascal Couraud's disappearance.

They have seen new documents in possession of the Papeete-based judge investigating a family complaint dating back to 2004 which alleges that Mr Couraud was murdered.

A letter found in the home of French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, who ran an intelligence unit with tacit French backing, implicates four men in the alleged killing of Mr Couraud.

His brother, Philippe Couraud, says the letter was written by Vetea Cadousteau, a GIP intervention force member, who feared for his safety and whose death five years ago is now a subject of investigations as well.

"Before we only knew two names. We knew they were four but we didn't know the other two names. Secondly, it appears that two of the four guys are dead - conditions are not so clear - so the judge is looking at this very conscientiously."

Philippe Couraud says his family is convinced that Jean-Pascal Couraud was killed over documents that showed financial links between a former French president Jacques Chirac and a local businessman.

Gaston Flosse has said it's scandalous that the media continues to talk about a kidnapping and murder because more than ten years after the journalist's disappearance, nothing supports such an assumption.