9 Feb 2013

Flosse to appeal conviction in Tahiti phantom job case

9:31 am on 9 February 2013

French Polynesia's former president, Gaston Flosse, says he will take his latest corruption conviction to France's highest court.

This came immediately after the appeal court in Tahiti upheld his conviction for running a network of so-called phantom jobs with the presidency in what has been the biggest case of its kind in French legal history.

Gaston Flosse has been given a four-year suspended jail sentence and a 170,000 US dollars fine for being part of an illicitly funded system to advance the policies of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party dating back to the 1990s.

The court also deprived him of his civic rights for three years, meaning he cannot contest any elections.

However by taking the case to Paris, he can still run in the territorial election in April and May.

On appeal, 26 of the 42 co-accused have been acquitted, among them Gaston Flosse's partner, Pascale Haiti, and the mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard.

Convictions have been upheld for three unionists of the time, including Bruno Sandras, and the leader of the Rautahi Party, Jean-Christophe Bouissou.

Last month, Gaston Flosse was given a five-year prison sentence for corruption for getting about two million US dollars in kickbacks over 12 years for awarding public sector contracts to a French advertising executive.