Bethesda, Maryland, USA, 08/31/2015 /SubmitPressRelease123/
The Associated Press (AP) announced on Saturday, August 29 , that French authorities have handed two journalists preliminary extortion charges on accusations that they tried to blackmail Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
According to (AP), the Paris prosecutor’s office said that French writers Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet were released under judicial supervision after being given the charges.
The two journalists were working on a book about the King of Morocco which was due to be released early next year.
Morocco’s attorney, Dupond-Moretti confirmed that journalist Eric Laurent contacted the Royal Cabinet informing them about the book and demanded two million euros ($2.2 million) from the king of Morocco not to go ahead with the publication of the book.
Dupond-Moretti added that a first meeting was organized with a Moroccan official after which Morocco filed a case with Paris prosecutors and the French justice started its own investigation on the matter. Several other bugged meetings took place between the two journalists and a representative of the Moroccan King.
A judiciary source close to the French investigation told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the two journalists accepted payments of 40,000 euros ($45,000) each at the last meeting before they were arrested. The French judicial source said the journalists had been charged with blackmail and extortion but were released on bail. They are, however, restricted from talking to each other or any other parties involved in this case.
This case comes at a time when the bilateral relations between France and Morocco were getting better after Morocco had suspended cooperation agreements in protest at an attempt by French authorities to question the head of Morocco’s domestic intelligence service while he was visiting Paris a year ago.
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