22 Jun 2009

French Polynesian court denies bail to Haddad

1:56 pm on 22 June 2009

The chief executive of a French advertising company, Hubert Haddad, has been refused bail as he continues to be held in jail in French Polynesia for alleged corruption surrounding the territory's publicly-owned telecommunications company, OPT.

Mr Haddad was arrested in Paris last month and flown to Tahiti to join three others in prison as the investigations continue into alleged financial irregularities amounting to more than 10 million US dollars.

One of his lawyers has told a Tahiti newspaper that Mr Haddad proposed to pay more than half a million US dollars to be bailed and return to the Hilton hotel where he has an open account.

The lawyer also says the French foreign ministry refuses to recognise Mr Haddad's diplomatic passport from Burkina Faso.

The Depeche de Tahiti says the judges have also rejected his claim that being held at Nuutania prison is an attack on his dignity.

Among those implicated in the affair by the prosecutors in Papeete are a former French Polynesian government minister, Emile Vernaudon, and two heads of the OPT board of directors who are also in jail.