Two reporters in custody for extortion
Two media operatives were nabbed by police during a sting operation on Friday as they attempted to extort $1 million from the man in exchange for removing a false post on the social media platform Guyana News Network (GNN).
According to a statement issued by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, a report by a businessman led to the police investigation but the police have not released any statement on the arrest and investigation.
Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Corporate Communications Unit Mark Ramotar only confirmed that the duo remains in police custody.
GNN is known to post slanderous articles about individuals.
According to the statement from the Attorney General, the report was first made on August 29, alleging that GNN posted an article on Facebook with the businessman’s name and picture where it was asserted that the man is involved in illegal activities.
The AG noted that in his interview with the police, the businessman said that he was contacted by reporters Alex Wayne and Gary Eleazar of Kaieteur News, both of whom are close associates of another businessman with whom he has a dispute.
According to the statement from the AG, the aggrieved businessman said that he was told by Wayne and Eleazar that it was his rival businessman who told them to publish the article. In order to have the article removed, the two were demanding $90M.
The statement noted that the police conducted a sting operation on Friday on the East Coast of Demerara between 15:40 hrs and 16:35 hrs. The ranks gave the businessman marked cash along with instructions.
Wayne and Eleazar arrived at the location and went to the businessman where they engaged in a conversation.
The two reportedly demanded $1M in order to remove the post from the GNN Facebook page, the statement detailed.
The two were intercepted by the cops after they left with the cash. A search was conducted and ranks found the divided cash on both of them.
In addition, police ranks confiscated two cellular phones and a laptop and further searches were conducted at their homes. A laptop and three hard drives were found at Eleazar’s home.
The Attorney General reported that Wayne admitted during a video and audio-recorded interview that he acted in concert with the rival businessman and Eleazar to create and publish the said post on the GNN Facebook page because the two businessmen have an ongoing issue.