29 Jan 2014

Flosse lawyer dismisses Tahiti atoll embezzlement charges

1:15 pm on 29 January 2014

The lawyer acting for French Polynesia's president says the corruption accusations levelled against his client over a 2002 atoll purchase are baseless.

The comment came after the week-long trial of Gaston Flosse and five others was adjourned until June because the father of the lawyer of another defendant had died.

The six are accused of helping a leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, by paying him five times the value of Anuanuraro atoll when it was bought by the Flosse government for nine million US dollars.

The defence lawyer, Francois Quinquis, says the valuations were incorrect and the embezzlement charges don't add up.

The prosecutor says he wanted the eight-year-old investigation to go to court now at least for those whose lawyers were present, but the judge adjourned the trial.

In October, the appeal court in Tahiti deferred, also until June, another corruption case against Mr Flosse after he was given a five-year jail sentence last January.