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Former French Polynesia leader Flosse questioned in graft probe

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-10

French Senator Gaston Flosse, whose parliamentary immunity was partially lifted just six days ago, has been questioned and detained in a Tahiti jail. The long-time leader of French Polynesia faces accusations of embezzling some 1.5 million euros.

AFP - Ex-French Polynesia president Gaston Flosse, an ally of former president Jacques Chirac, has been questioned and detained in a graft probe by authorities in Tahiti, a prosecutor said.
   
Gaston, 78, was accompanied to prison in a suburb of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti, on Monday by dozens of party supporters and friends, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
   
In September, police searched the French senator's home and his Tahoera's Huiraatira party headquarters.
   
Flosse, a French senator, served four terms as head of the French Pacific territory between 1984 and 2008.
   
He was questioned in July by financial investigators in Paris over the alleged embezzlement of some 1.5 million euros (2.2 million dollars) from the Polynesian post and telecoms office.
   
Flosse is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing majority.
   
The French Senate earlier partially lifted Flosse's immunity, allowing him to be questioned, but refused a request by an investigating magistrate for Flosse to be taken into custody, noting he had yet to be formally placed under investigation.
   
Prosecutors subsequently said they would begin an official inquiry.
   
The probe was launched after a damning report by Polynesia's public finance watchdog, the CTC, on the use of state funds and award of contracts during Flosse's rule.

Date created : 2009-11-10

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