2 Oct 2012

Haddad illness imperils OPT trial in Tahiti

6:32 pm on 2 October 2012

Heart problems of a key accused have put in doubt the continuation of the trial of 15 people implicated in a high-profile French Polynesian corruption case.

Hubert Haddad was rushed to hospital after feeling unwell during questioning in Tahiti's criminal court.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Hubert Haddad's lawyer says his client needs absolute rest for five days on advice of the doctors who examined him. Mr Haddad, who is a French advertising executive, is central to the case, standing accused of having paid kickbacks for years to get contracts from the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company. According to key testimony, about two million US dollars in cash was given to the former ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party of Gaston Flosse but the money is not accounted for in the party records. The party has already issued a statement, saying its leader applied no pressure on the OPT leadership. The trial was due to end this week but may now be delayed."