Former Tongan rugby star Finau Maka was today given a hefty fine in France for under-paying an illegal Tunisian immigrant for years of housework and for confiscating his passport.
An appeals court in Toulouse overturned an earlier judgement that had acquitted Maka and handed him a $3,178 fine and $7,946 in damages for taking advantage of Moncef Derbali and illegally employing him, according to South African website sport24.co.za.
Maka, who starred for Tonga at the 2007 and 2011 World Cup, was accused by Derbali of making him work 'under the table' for four years in his villa near Toulouse and to have paid him just $2003.
Maka sent the money to Derbali's mother in Tunisia. Derbali claimed that Maka made him live in insalubrious housing and confiscated his passport.
The state prosecutor in his summing up said Derbali was reduced to a submissive state because of his "vulnerability and his dependency" (on Maka), and lived in a "lodging not compatible with human dignity."
Derbali, who now has valid working papers for France, said he was "satisfied" with the verdict. His lawyer said he would now take the case to an industrial tribunal to force Maka to pay his client a decent salary for the years he worked for him.