Tahiti’s Flosse ordered to repay millions in ‘phantom jobs’ case

Gaston Flosse
French Polynesia's former president Gaston Flosse ... covid-19 positive. Image: France 24

By RNZ Pacific

French Polynesia’s former president Gaston Flosse and 12 other people have been ordered to jointly repay millions of francs they misspent on so-called phantom jobs.

In 2013, the group was found to have funded a vast network of supporters of Flosse’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party for almost a decade from the late 1990s.

Tahiti-Infos reports the ruling to reimburse US$4.2 million was made by France’s highest court more than a week ago, rejecting an appeal lodged two years ago.

READ MORE: Tahiti’s scandal-plagued ‘Old Lion’ bounces back

The 13 must pay the government US$3.4 million and the assembly US$900,000 with the bulk of the money owed by the 87-year-old Flosse.

A former member of the French National Assembly, Bruno Sandras, and two leading unionists, Jean-Marie Yan Tu and Cyril Le Gayic, also have to repay money.

A minor sum is to be paid by the current government minister Jean-Christophe Bouissou.

The current President of Tahiti, Edouard Fritch, accepted a court order in 2016 to repay US$65,000 to the public purse.

In 2014, Flosse was given a four-year suspended prison sentence and forced to resign as president while incurring a ban from holding public office for three years.

The phantom job case was the biggest of its kind in French legal history.

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

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