Appeal mooted in Tahiti phantom job case

8:14 pm on 26 September 2016

The defence lawyer for a former French Polynesian president Gaston Flosse says he is considering an appeal in the Supreme Court in France over an order to repay the public purse $US2.2 million.

The offices of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party in French Polynesia

The offices of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party in French Polynesia Photo: RNZI / Walter Zweifel

Last week, the French Court of Audit ordered 20 people, including Flosse, to jointly reimburse the funds spent as part of a vast network of phantom jobs to support his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party over eight years from 1996.

The lawyer Francois Quinquis has told public television the court decision against his client was a political one.

Flosse was deemed to have arranged contracts for top politicians, former and current mayors, unionists, journalists and sports administrators to advocate for his party.

However, Flosse said he never abused public funds, adding that all contracts at the centre of the court case were approved by successive French high commissioners.

Those sentenced to repay the money include the current president Edouard Fritch, who has been ordered to repay $US65,000 as his share of the expenses.

There has been no official government reaction to the court decision.

The case, which was the biggest case of its kind in French legal history, led to Flosse being forced to resign from office two years ago after he failed to persuade the French president to waive his four-year suspended jail sentence.

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