10 Mar 2010

Controversial atoll sale case in French Polynesia back on agenda next week

4:00 pm on 10 March 2010

It will be known next week whether a complaint by French Polynesia's opposition over a 2003 land deal has been admissible.

The lawyer acting for a former president, Gaston Flosse, has sought to stifle a probe into the deal by saying the 12 opposition politicians, including Oscar Temaru, were not entitled to lodge a complaint.

The case revolves around allegations of fraud by Mr Flosse, his deputy, Edouard Fritch, and his former lands minister, Gaston Tong Sang, over the sale of Anuanuraro atoll in 2003.

The three have been accused of buying the atoll from the territory's leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, for five times its value.

Mr Flosse rejected the accusation, saying the atoll was bought to prevent its sale to Japanese investors.

Mr Temaru has said he wants to oust the current leaders in a no confidence motion in part because of their role in the atoll sale.