7 Jun 2012

Tahiti's Vernaudon released from prison

12:55 pm on 7 June 2012

A French Polynesian politician, Emile Vernaudon, has been released from prison after serving just over 500 days of his five-year sentence.

Vernaudon is now in home detention after his second bid for an early release was approved.

Vernaudon was imprisoned for misspending 1.4 million US dollars of funds at the state-owned OPT telecommunications company.

Last year, France stripped him of his membership of the French National Order of Merit bestowed on him in 2000 as long-term mayor of Mahina and member of the French National Assembly.

In 2008, he made legal history by becoming the first person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor while in jail.

At the time he was held for several months in connection with a probe into alleged fraud.

In his absence, the Mahina council installed him in office by placing a ribbon around his photograph placed in the mayor's chair.