7 Apr 2014

Leak corroborates murder theory in 1997 Tahiti journalist death

6:47 am on 7 April 2014

New evidence appears to confirm that the French Polynesian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, was killed by President Gaston Flosse's G-I-P militia in December 1997.

The French newspaper, Le Monde, has obtained transcripts of secretly-recorded conversations among the suspects who already face charges of kidnapping as a result of an investigation, now in its 10th year.

Walter Zweifel reports.

The recordings reveal that the G-I-P boss Rere Puputauki told Tino Mara that he, that is Mara, killed the journalist, who had been under surveillance by the president's intelligence unit.

An investigation for murder was launched in 2004 when a former spy made the explosive claim that Jean-Pascal Couraud had vanished because the G-I-P had kidnapped and drowned him off Tahiti.

Last year, when the three suspects were first charged, their homes were bugged and now part of the recordings have been leaked to Le Monde which has been embroiled in disputes with Gaston Flosse.

Rere Puputauki's lawyer says he will lodge a complaint for defamation.