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Maka fined heavily for under-paying worker

Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 1:04 p.m.

Finau Maka (Photosport)

Finau Maka (Photosport)

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Former New Zealand-based rugby player Finau Maka has been heavily fined for under-paying an immigrant worker during years of labour on his French property.

A Court of Appeal in Toulouse ordered former Tongan international Maka, 35, to pay Tunisian man Moncef Derbali 5000 euros ($NZ7944) in damages and another 2000 euros to the court.

The court overturned a 2010 acquittal of Maka, who was accused of "modern slavery".

Derbali, who did not have the papers required to work in France, claimed Maka had made him live in undesirable conditions at his villa near Toulouse.

He said Maka paid him just 1260 euros over nearly four years from 2006 and had confiscated his passport.

The prosecution 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's 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.

Maka played for the Hurricanes, Blues and Highlanders from 1997 to 2001 before nine years playing at the Toulouse club.

The younger brother of former All Black Isitolo Maka, he played at a second World Cup for Tonga in New Zealand last year.


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