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FRANCE - MoROCco

Paris court upholds charges against journalists accused of blackmailing Moroccan king

Journalists and authors Catherine Graciet in 2009 andEric Laurent in 2006
Journalists and authors Catherine Graciet in 2009 andEric Laurent in 2006 AFP

A Paris court has thrown out an appeal by two journalists charged with blackmailing Morocco's King Mohammed VI. Lawyers for the pair, who deny the charges, sought to have evidence based on clandestine tape recordings ruled out.

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Catherine Graciet and Eric Laurent were charged with blackmail and extortion in August after lawyer Hicham Naciri, who had been sent by the king to negotiate with them, accused them of demanding millions of euros not to publish a book they said contained damaging revelations about Mohammed VI.

Naciri had alerted police who opened an inquiry and caught the pair with 80,000 euros cash in their possession after their third meeting with him in Paris on 27 August.

The lawyer had recorded that meeting and the previous one on his mobile phone and their lawyers argued that only recordings made by the official investigators should be admissible as evidence.

The Paris appeal court rejected the argument.

Graciet's lawyer, Eric Moutet, said he will take the appeal to a higher court.

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