Rugby player fined over 'modern slavery' case

Last updated 07:39 05/12/2012
Finau Maka
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FINED: Finau Maka, pictured during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

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Former New Zealand Super Rugby player Finau Maka has been ordered by a French court to pay 7000 Euros (NZ$11,000) in damages over the way he treated a Tunisian handyman.

Maka, 35, a former Tongan international who played for the Highlanders and the Hurricanes, lives in Toulouse where he was accused of making 46-year-old Moncef Derbali live in a garden shed and work on his villa for four years in conditions that equated to "modern slavery".

Derbali had no legal migration papers.

Agency France-Presse (AFP) said an appeals court overturned an earlier judgment that had acquitted Maka in a criminal trial. Maka had originally got off on the basis charges of slavery could not been proved.

Maka has now been ordered to pay a 2000 Euro fine and another 5000 Euros in damages, for taking advantage of Derbali and his illegal employment.

AFP said Maka, who played in the third-row for Toulouse at the time, was accused by Derbali of being paid just 1260 Euros over four years.

AFP reported Derbali was vulnerable and dependant on Maka and his living situation was "not compatible with human dignity".

Derbali's lawyer told AFP his client would take the case to an industrial tribunal to force Maka to pay him an adequate slaray for the years he worked for him.

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