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Rabat (AFP)- Several employees of the French insurance magnate Jacques Bouthier, arrested in Paris for raping a minor, have been placed in police custody in Morocco, a lawyer for the plaintiffs announced on Friday.
The employees appeared at the beginning of the week before the public prosecutor’s office in the city of Tangier (north), and a judge placed “five of them under a warrant of committal”, while the sixth was released, indicated to the AFP lawyer Karima Salama.
Bouthier, 75 and one of France’s richest men, is the former CEO of insurance group Assu2000, later renamed Vilavi.
He was indicted on May 21 and arrested by the Paris prosecutor’s office after a preliminary investigation into charges of human trafficking and rape of a minor.
A Frenchman and five Moroccan suspects, including two women, are accused of “recruiting and psychologically conditioning” women, said Salama of the Moroccan Association for Victims’ Rights (AMDV).
“They also justified (Bouthier’s) conduct,” she said.
Several young Moroccan women filed a complaint against Bouthier last month, accusing him of various acts of “trafficking in persons, sexual harassment and verbal and moral violence” between 2018 and this year, according to Salama.
Some told a press conference at the time that they had faced repeated sexual harassment and intimidation as well as threats to their jobs, in a city where many struggle to find work.
The women said they were fired after refusing to “give in to harassment and blackmail” over their jobs by Bouthier and other French and Moroccan executives.
Such public statements are rare in Morocco, where victims of sexual abuse often face social stigma.
The AMDV on Friday called on all other victims to “break down the wall of fear and actively participate in the fight against impunity for those who have seriously violated their dignity as women”.
Bouthier is also being prosecuted in France for criminal association, kidnapping in an organized gang and possession of child pornography.
© 2022 AFP