20 Mar 2013

Tahiti's Flosse takes legal action against Le Monde

6:43 pm on 20 March 2013

French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, has lodged a formal complaint against the French newspaper Le Monde over last week's article about the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

The paper said after a nine-year investigation, three men could face charges for kidnapping and drowning the journalist off Tahiti.

A former spy of the then president Gaston Flosse's illegal intelligence unit reportedly testified in November and pointed at three members of the now disbanded GIP militia, Leonard Puputauki, and two of his subordinates, Tutu Manate and Tino Mara.

Mr Flosse's party says he will take legal action against anyone making a link between the journalist's disappearance and him.

Three years ago, a criminal court in Paris dismissed a complaint by Mr Flosse that he had been defamed in a French television documentary about the same topic.

In 2004, when the allegation of the journalist's killing first surfaced, Mr Flosse swore in the territorial assembly that he had never ordered anybody's death.