An hour before a repatriation flight to Tahiti was due to depart, the High Court denied bail to a French national after he failed to pay a bond of $60,000.
A 73-year-old French national charged with fraud was unable
to board a repatriation flight to Tahiti yesterday after being denied bail by
the Cook Islands High Court.
French national, Yves Tchen Pan, who also holds a Cook
Islands permanent resident visa, faces a charge of obtaining by false pretense,
the alleged amount of about $60,000.
Pan was one of the four French nationals who were to board
the repatriation flight serviced by French navy aircraft CN235. It was
organised through successful discussions between the foreign ministries of
France and Cook Islands, as well as the Office of the French Polynesia
President Edouard Fritch.
However, an hour before the departure, the High Court denied
bail to Pan after he failed to pay a bond of $60,000. He was ordered to
surrender his passport to the Ministry of Justice.
Defence lawyer Reuben Tylor also asked for interim name
suppression on the grounds his client is a prominent businessman and his
reputation could be damaged. The name suppression request was denied by JP
While making the bail application, Tylor said his client has
a substantial business in the Cook Islands and travels to the country every
year, spending a minimum of four months per year. He added his client had no
criminal record and had no idea about the nature of the charge.
Tylor also said Pan was to check in for the repatriation
flight early yesterday after having been in the Cook Islands for nine months.
He assured the High Court that his client would return to
the Cook Islands but couldn’t provide a specific date due to Covid-19.
Senior police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo did
not object to the bail, provided the bail bond of $60,000 is paid before
Tararo requested the defendant surrender his passport.
He said the defendant had also promised payments to local
pearl farmers adding they were concerned about the uncertainty of his return.
Defence lawyer Tylor replied the farmers have been paid
in full adding this was irrelevant to
He also said the charge was not one of public safety and the
nature of the case was a civil matter. Tylor added his client was not a flight
He also maintained when police would make discovery into the
case, the charges would be withdrawn.
JP Whitta said he was uncomfortable with the amount of money
the defendant is accused to have defrauded. He said $60,000 was a huge amount
In his ruling, JP John Whitta said in negotiation, a surety
of $10,000 was offered by the defence but was rejected by police “therefore the
application of bail to travel in the absence of a bond was denied”.
Pan was ordered to surrender his passport to the Ministry of
Justice and also ordered not to make any contact with the complainant.