16 Jan 2013

Flosse to get ruling in OPT Tahiti court case

5:21 am on 16 January 2013

French Polynesia's criminal court is today due to deliver its verdict in an alleged corruption case at French Polynesia's OPT telecommunications company.

The case centred on claims that a French advertising executive Hubert Haddad made huge and regular cash payments to a former president, Gaston Flosse, to get public sector contracts.

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 prosecution wants both jailed for five years.

The defence wants their acquittal, denouncing the case as a political trial aimed at ending the Flosse system in Tahiti.

Next month, the appeal court is to give its verdict in a case brought by Flosse who a year ago was sentenced to four years in jail for running a network of phantom employees to the benefit of his political party.

The trial was the biggest of its kind in French legal history, implicating a total of 87 people, including top politicians, former and current mayors, unionists, journalists and sports administrators.