$200,000 bail for reporters slapped with extortion charge
Media operatives Alex Wayne and Gary Eleazar were on Tuesday released on $200,000 bail each after being slapped with two charges related to their attempts to extort money from a businessman.
The duo appeared before Magistrate Fabian Azore at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court where they denied the charges when it was read to them.
The first charge alleged that between August 27 and September 23, at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, they conspired together and with other persons published a defamatory libel against Afras Mohamed with an intent to extort the sum of $150,000.
The second charge was similar, representing a second count of the first charge.
Following their not guilty pleas, they were each granted bail in the sum of $100, 000 on each charge and the matter was adjourned until November 1, for statements to be presented to the court.
The arrest was first announced by Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Saturday but a statement from Police Headquarters on Sunday noted that Eleazar told investigators that he was contacted by businessman Dorwain Bess who informed him that Mohamed 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 the 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.
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 allegedly demanding $90M, according to Nandlall.
It must be noted that the Guyana Police Force on Monday issued a wanted bulletin for businessman Dorwain Bess, 45, of last known address is 162 Rupa Place, Bel Air Park, Georgetown.
Bess was implicated by Eleazar and Wayne and is wanted for questioning in relation to the publication of the defamatory and libelous information.