Two French journalists have been placed under formal investigation after Morocco’s King Mohammed filed a complaint accusing them of attempting blackmail by threatening to publish a book about him, a judicial source said.
The king’s lawyer, Eric Dupont-Moretti, told RTL radio that Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet were arrested on Thursday after a police sting in which he said the journalists received a payment and signed a contract for not publishing the book.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said Saturday that French writers Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet were released under judicial supervision after being given the charges.
A French lawyer for the king said the journalists demanded 3 million euros ($3.4 million) in exchange for not publishing a compromising new book about Mohammed VI. He said they were arrested in a sting operation.
The two are known for their critical writings about the king. The case has drawn widespread attention in Morocco, where the monarchy is considered above criticism.