Tahiti’s Salmon fined for defaming president with ‘vote buying’ claim

Tahiti President Edouard Fritch wins election defamation case against rival ... awarded US$2000 pay out in damages. Image: French Polynesia govt

By RNZ Pacific

A senior French Polynesian politician has been fined for defaming the president Edouard Fritch during the election campaign in April.

The criminal court in Tahiti found the Territorial Assembly leader of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, Geffry Salmon, guilty and fined him US$5,000.

He has also been ordered to pay US$2,000 to Fritch who wanted to be paid US$20,000 in compensation.

Fritch took legal action in June, saying Salmon defamed him at a news conference with claims that his party had been giving out subsidies to buy votes.

Fritch’s lawyer said Tahoeraa never lodged any complaint about any alleged abuse of funds but instead Salmon tried to damage his rivals.

Next month, Fritch is due in court with his predecessor as president, Gaston Flosse, with both accused of abusing public funds.

In the last term, Fritch was twice convicted for corruption.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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