Suspicions of blackmail against Mohammed VI: the trial of two French journalists opens in Paris

Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.

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Éric Laurent and Catherine Graciet are suspected of having wanted to obtain from the entourage of the Moroccan sovereign two million euros not to publish a book that would be embarrassing for the royal family.

Their lawyers intend to prove that they fell into a trap.


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The affair broke out in the summer of 2015. A few months earlier, Éric Laurent and Catherine Graciet signed a publishing contract for a new book on Mohammed VI.

The two journalists are already authors of a book on the sovereign, entitled

The Predatory King

, published in 2012 but banned in Morocco.

In July, Éric Laurent requests an appointment with the private secretary of the king: at the beginning of August, there he is seated at a table with an emissary of the monarchy, the lawyer Hicham Naciri, to whom he announces the release in early 2016 of this explosive book.

From there, the versions diverge.

For the journalist, it was master Naciri who then offered him money not to publish the book.

The kingdom says on the contrary that the proposal comes from the journalist, who then claims three million euros. 

At the end of the meeting, Morocco filed a complaint.

An investigation is opened, and it is under police surveillance that a second interview takes place between Éric Laurent and the emissary, then a third, in the presence of Catherine Graciet.

On August 27, the two journalists signed an agreement: two million euros against the withdrawal of the book before being arrested, in possession of 40,000 euros each.

During the investigation, the journalists admitted having accepted the contract to, they say, “ 

get rid

 of” a book whose geopolitical consequences “ 


” them, but they disputed any blackmail.

Their lawyers, joined by AFP, even evoke a “ 

trap set by the Moroccan services


To decide, the court will hear in particular the recordings of the three interviews, made in secret by the Moroccan emissary, and finally paid for the debates after a legal battle.

The two journalists risk up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.





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  • Mohammad VI