FRENCH lawyers representing Rais Saniman, a former director of Bumiputra Finance Ltd, have applied to appeal against his extradition to Hong Kong to face bribery charges connected with the multi-billion dollar collapse of the Carrian Group. The decision to extradite Saniman has made legal history in France, after Britain and Hong Kong took the French Government to court to reverse an earlier court ruling blocking the Malaysian businessman's extradition. Paris-based lawyer Vincent Asselineau, representing Saniman, said he had applied to appeal the case under French law although yesterday he had still not been informed if his application had been approved. He said he would take the matter up with the Council of State, which approved the extradition in October. ''The Council cancelled the decision of the Government not to extradite on October 15,'' Mr Asselineau said. ''It is still amusing for judges to reduce the power of the state but it is the first time a country has sued the French Republic for the non-extradition of a person.'' Saniman was arrested on October 19 at his home in Versailles, on charges relating to the collapse of the Carrian Group in 1982 and 1983. Mr Asselineau said he would also seek to have Saniman released on bail from the Bois D'Arcy prison in Tuesday's court hearing in Versailles. The former Malaysian banker has been held on remand in the ''common jail'' since his arrest. Saniman, 58, an economic development consultant, lived with his wife in a suburb of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) wants Saniman to return to Hong Kong to stand trial with George Tan Soon Gin, who formed the Carrian Group in the 1970s. Saniman resigned as a director of BMFL in October 1983 along with Lorrain Osman and Hashim Shamsuddin, who had both since been convicted for corruption. He was first arrested on April 27, 1987, after a request from the Hong Kong Government, but was freed by the French courts which stated at the time that his role in the Carrian affair was ''unclear''. Three years later, he was again arrested after the courts overturned the earlier ruling and recommended Saniman be deported to Hong Kong. This decision was in turn over-ruled by the Minister of Justice who gave no explanation for blocking his return.