Already authors in 2012 of a book on Mohammed VI, “The predator King”, Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet, respectively aged 76 and 48 today, had signed a contract with Editions du Seuil for a second volume on the same subject. In the summer of 2015, Mr. Laurent, a former reporter for Radio France and the Figaro Magazine, had contacted the private secretariat of the king. There followed a meeting in a Parisian palace with the lawyer Hicham Naciri, emissary of the kingdom.
After this first meeting, Morocco lodged a complaint and an investigation was opened: two other meetings were then held under police surveillance at the end of August. Catherine Graciet, notably the author of books on the Maghreb and Libya, was only present at the third interview, during which the two journalists had signed a financial agreement of up to 2 million euros to abandon the project of book.
At the end of this last meeting, they were arrested with two envelopes, each containing 40,000 euros in cash. For the court, the two journalists had a “common approach” and exercised a “pressure” on the emissary, promising a book “devastating” for the kingdom. According to the judgment, “the price of silence” was requested by journalists and not by the kingdom. The three meetings had been recorded in secret by Hicham Naciri, wiretaps strongly disputed by the defense since the beginning of the instruction.