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Prison Sentences Requested Against Journalists Who Tried to Blackmail King Mohammed VI

Rabat - A one-year suspended prison sentence and a €15,000 (MAD 164,000) fine have been requested against French journalists Catherine Graciet and Eric Laurent for their attempt to blackmail King Mohammed VI.

The decision will be made by the courts on March 14.

Back in 2015, the pair threatened to publish a book about the Moroccan King unless they were paid €2 million (MAD 21 million), making international headlines and being arrested for extortion.

Laurent, who is 75, admitted before the court that he made “an ethical error,” but has refused to take responsibility for a criminal offense, alleging that the proposal for a financial arrangement came from Morocco.

Graciet, the author of books on the Maghreb and Libya, said the same, accusing a Moroccan emissary of having proposed the arrangement, French outlet Liberation reported.

On the other hand, Ralph Boussier, one of the lawyers for Morocco maintains that it was Laurent who evoked the arrangement, adding that Morocco filed a complaint after the first meeting with the journalists.

During the trial, Graciet and Laurent requested that recordings of their meeting with King Mohammed VI’s lawyer not be admitted in court, claiming they they were “illegal.”

According to reporting from Le Monde, the two journalists met with the King’s personal lawyer Hicham Naciri in a Paris hotel bar on August 11, 2015.

Naciri recorded the conversation with the pair, the French outlet reported, before they were arrested by police on August 27, with €80,000 in cash in their possession at the time of the arrest.

Laurent had admitted in 2015 to calling the Moroccan royal cabinet and demanding a huge sum of money to not publish a book that contains “damaging revelations.”

Source: Morocco World News

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