Tahiti's OPT case may be abandoned

3:39 pm on 17 November 2015

French Polynesia's court of appeal is tomorrow due to determine whether the OPT corruption case will be abandoned.

Alleged OPT fraud case quashed in Tahiti

Alleged OPT fraud case quashed in Tahiti Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

In April, the affair was thrown out over a procedural error, quashing the five-year jail sentences given in 2013 to a former president, Gaston Flosse, and a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

Tahiti-infos reports that according to Flosse's lawyer, any attempt to mount a fresh case cannot be allowed because more than three years have elapsed since the start of the initial probe.

But the prosecution considers that the appeal court hearing and the subsequent annulment of the entire case have reset the clock.

It is being suggested that if the prosecution accepts the argument of the delay, the matter will be buried for good.

In the criminal court two years ago, Flosse was convicted for taking more than US$2 million in kickbacks for granting public sector contracts to Mr Haddad over a 12-year period until the middle of the last decade.

Flosse had admitted disbursing the money for private expenses.

Last year, he lost office as both president and French senator after he was found guilty of running a massive network of so-called phantom jobs to support his Tahoeraa Huiraatira political party at the height of his power nearly 20 years ago.

Gaston Flosse makes phone call during 2014 OPT appeal court trial in Tahiti

Gaston Flosse makes phone call during 2014 OPT appeal court trial in Tahiti Photo: AFP

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