Tahiti atoll sale case thrown out

4:06 pm on 19 July 2017

France's highest court has rejected a bid to convict former French Polynesian president Gaston Flosse and a leading pearl producer Robert Wan over an atoll sale in 2002.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: RNZ

Prosecutors in Tahiti took the case to Paris last year after the court of appeal in Papeete acquitted the two of corruption charges over the purchase of an atoll at an overvalued price.

The appeal court had upheld the decision by the criminal court in Tahiti two years earlier which had cleared the two and four co-accused, including the current president Edouard Fritch.

Flosse was accused of abusing public funds by paying Mr Wan $US9 million to buy Anuanuraro atoll in 2002.

The sum was five times the atoll's value but Flosse's lawyer argued the valuations were incorrect and the embezzlement charges didn't add up.

Flosse also said that it was the then finance minister, Georges Puchon, who approved the purchase.

The prosecution took only Flosse and Mr Wan to the appeal court, wanting to give Flosse an 18-month suspended prison sentence and declare him ineligible for public office for five years.

Tahiti-infos said the ruling in Paris meant that Flosse and Mr Wan were now definitely cleared.

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