10 Nov 2009

Former French Polynesian President in custody over range of matters

10:09 pm on 10 November 2009

The former French Polynesia president Gaston Flosse who has been arrested in a graft probe by authorities in Tahiti is under police investigation for 30 different matters mainly relating to alleged corruption.

After being questioned for several hours, Mr Flosse, who lost his parliamentary immunity as French senator last week, has been detained in Tahiti's Nuutania jail.

In September, Mr Flosse was charged with corruption amid claims that his party received regular and massive kickbacks from a now detained French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

Prosecutor Jose Thorel alleged Gaston Flosse played a central role in a decade-long corruption scheme that saw him and his party receive payments from ex-post and telecoms officials.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel, says that Mr Flosse is now under investigation for a range of matters, including some concerning the operations of his former GIP militia, although corruption enquiries dominate.

"They've put in custody the kingpin of the system because like Mr Hudard said during the interrogations, and other people have said it too: under Mr Flosse's tenure in government, if you wanted to do something - business or otherwise - well you had to give a percentage to Mr Flosse or his party."

Alex du Prel