Temaru’s bank savings seized by French prosecutor
French Polynesia’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says the public prosecutor has seized $US100,000 from his private bank account.
Radio New Zealand reports Mr Temaru told his party’s inner circle that he discovered this while out shopping.
There has been no official word about the seizure but a party colleague and member of the French and French Polynesian legislature Moetai Brotherson described the move as totally scandalous and an attempt to intimidate him.
The action was taken as the court of appeal is yet to rule in the case of Mr Temaru’s role in the funding arrangements for Radio Tefana.
Last September, Mr Temaru was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for exerting undue influence and fined $US50,000.
Last month, he and his lawyers were questioned by police in a new probe looking into the legality of how his legal defence was funded.
The prosecutor asserted that a decision by the Faaa municipal council to carry the cost of the defence amounted to an abuse of public funds and implying that the lawyers were illegally benefiting from the mandate.
Mr Brotherson said seizing assets was only permissible if there was a final conviction, adding that the funds taken from Mr Temaru’s only savings account.
He said Mr Temaru, who has been the mayor of Faaa for 37 years and who was installed for yet another term, didn’t pose a flight risk and want to run away to South America.
He said he had his roots in French Polynesia and would see out his days there.
Last month, Mr Temaru told a news conference that France had engaged in judicial harassment and was abusing its power to politically assassinate him.
He said the real reason for his conviction in September was that in the eyes of France he committed treason by taking French presidents to the International Criminal Court over historic nuclear weapons tests.
It was his first conviction in a criminal court, but an appeal is still pending.
In 2018, France’s top administrative court ruled that his campaign accounts for the May election of that year were deficient and declared him ineligible to keep his assembly seat.