Reporters detail plan to extort businessman; remain in custody

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The Guyana Police Force late Sunday confirmed that the two reporters, Gary Eleazar and Alex Wayne, who were both arrested for extortion, remain in custody.

The men were interviewed by detectives and detailed the plan to extort a businessman, the Police Force noted in an official statement.

The arrests were made during a sting operation on Friday last and followed a report made to the police by the businessman who has since remained unnamed.

The arrest was first announced by Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Saturday but a statement from Police Headquarters on Sunday noted that Eleazar was told investigators during his interview that he was contacted by Dorwain Bess who informed him that the businessman was evading taxes.

As a consequence, an article was written and reportedly sent to Rickford Burke, an overseas-based Guyanese, who Eleazar said posted it to Guyana News Network Facebook page and website.

Additionally, Eleazar told the detective that he also sent five articles targeting other persons and at least one government agency to Burke.

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 Wayne and Eleazar and told 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 Bess and Eleazar to create and publish the said post on the GNN Facebook page.

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