4 Oct 2012

Haddad free to leave Tahiti OPT trial

11:52 am on 4 October 2012

French Polynesia's criminal court has decided that a key suspect in a high-profile corruption case, Hubert Haddad, is free to return to Paris.

His lawyer applied for the French advertising executive to be let go after he suffered renewed heart problems midway through the trial in Tahiti.

Mr Haddad was taken to hospital for observation but returned to court yesterday amid instructions he be questioned only briefly.

He has had a history of heart problems and was transferred to a Tahiti hospital during his 2009 jailing when he was imprisoned for three months as part of the investigation preceding the trial.

The trial involves 15 people and centres on alleged corrupt deals at the OPT telecommunications company.

Mr Haddad is accused of having paid kickbacks to get public sector contracts at a time Gaston Flosse was the territory's president.

He is alleged to have paid about two million US dollars to Flosse's political party, but there is no trace of it in the party books.

The two-week trial is expected to end this week.