5 Aug 2009

French agents may be questioned over French Polynesian journalist's disappearance

12:41 pm on 5 August 2009

The news agency AFP says a French Polynesian judge may be allowed to question French secret service agents in connection with his investigation into the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti-based journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

According to AFP, the French commission dealing with the declassification of secret documents says the judge should be allowed to question the authors and recipients of the documents that have been released to him.

This relates to allegations that Mr Couraud had obtained information about a reported Japanese bank account held by the former French president, Jacques Chirac, which was used to deposit funds from French Polynesia.

The existence of such an account became an issue in the context of the so-called Clearstream affair, which has engulfed the previous prime minister, Dominique de Villepin.

The French defence minister has not released all documents requested by the Tahiti judge who wants to question 20 French agents over the matter.

Mr Couraud's family lodged a murder complaint five years ago, prompting the current investigation whose end is not in sight yet.