10 Jul 2009

Police search Paris of home of French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse

3:04 pm on 10 July 2009

Reports from Tahiti say police have searched the Paris home of the French Polynesian politician, Gaston Flosse, as an investigation into alleged corruption at the state-owned OPT telecommunications company continues.

According to the reports, police left empty-handed from the Paris home which Mr Flosse has described as media eagerness by a judicial official.

This comes as the French justice minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, has asked the Senate to lift Mr Flosse's immunity as requested by an investigative judge in Papeete, with a decision expected next week.

If the request is approved, it would allow the investigators to question Mr Flosse about the alleged misuse of 10 million dollars of OPT funds.

As the probe is being extended, five people have been put into the Tahiti jail, including his personal secretary, Melba Ortas, who is accused of collecting money on Mr Flosse's behalf from a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

Over 12 years, she is to have received 1.7 million US dollars for the Senator.

The investigation has also seen a 30-strong police team search the office of Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.