Thursday, January 15, 2009

tahiti spy letter predicts own murder

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NEWS

A Tahiti spy wrote he would be murdered to cover up a mafia-style drowning, just off the coast of the capital of French Polynesia.

“I know that I will be killed,” reads a letter, unsigned, undated.

Attributed to Vetea Cadousteau, the letter outlines how he and three other men allegedly assassinated a former Pape’ete editor in 1997.

The body of investigative journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud has never been found.

Cadousteau was discovered dead in a river in 2004.

Widespread speculation year after year links circumstantial evidence about the deaths to a vast banking scandal, Clearstream, well known among French media audiences, almost unknown in English circles, involving a dossier said to have been hidden by Couraud at his family home.

Yesterday’s edition of Le Monde published quotes from the letter about the killing of the investigative journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, known as JPK.

Initial analysis of the hand written letter returned inconclusively.

Follow up tests to authenticate the author of the letter have been ordered by an examining magistrate, the third judge to head the JPK case.

Justice Jean-Paul Redonnet also ordered medical records from the inquest into the death of Cadousteau, an expert diver, his body found slumped in 20 centimetres of water.

A respected, centre-right daily in Paris, Le Monde published police notes from an interrogation of French senator Gaston Flosse. The purported spy “letter of testimony” was uplifted from a desk drawer, during a September 2008 police search of his home.

Details from the search, by police officers from DNIF, the National Directorate of Financial Investigations, only came to light over New Year holidays.

After the search, police interrogated Flosse.

He admitted getting the letter about the killing of Couraud, raised in Polynesia from the age of five, but told police he found it “crazy.”

Police asked Flosee why he had not forwarded the letter to Justice officials.

Explaining indirectly, he claimed if there was “any real story I would have got rid of this document ."

French media allude to comments made “in the heat of the moment” by Flosse.

Later quotes are said to vary.

This month’s issue of independent monthly Tahiti Pacifique compares comments from the police record of the Flosse home interrogation against later quotes from interviews with local media.

Tahiti Pacifique describes a “change in versions.”

Allegations of assassination of JPK first emerged in late 2004.

Flosse always denies any role in alleged assassination of Couraud.

Inquest notes quoted by Le Monde diagnose the Cadousteau death as being "consistent with heavy blows to the head."

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Correction: "2007" search of Gaston Flosse a typo mistake, updated to "2008".

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