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Mauritius police search journalists' homes after money laundering story
September 25, 2017 / 5:46 PM / 22 days ago

Mauritius police search journalists' homes after money laundering story

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Mauritian police searched the homes of three journalists from L’Express newspaper on Monday, less than a week after the paper published a story leading to the resignation of the country’s attorney general.

Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth asked former attorney general, Ravi Yerrigadoo, to step down on Sep. 13 after allegations he had colluded in a plot to launder gambling money.

Jugnauth has also said he wanted Yerrigadoo investigated.

At the time, Yerrigadoo issued a statement denying the allegations and saying he had quit to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest while the investigation was in progress.

Journalists Nad Sivaramen, Axel Chenney and Yasin Denmamode said in a statement police had shown up at their residences in the capital Port Louis at night early on Monday and climbed over walls to access their houses.

“In 2017, the police turn up at our house(s) with an arrest warrant at 4 o’clock in the morning ... are we common criminals?” they said in a joint statement.

“They searched the rooms ... it’s ridiculous,” Sivaramen, director of publications at L‘Express, told local radio.

The three journalists, who were not at their residences at the time police searched them, later went to a police station in Port Louis and were quizzed by detectives over the story, according to the statement.

Police spokesperson Siva Coothen said authorities ad a warrant to conduct a search at the journalists’ residence.

“In the light of our investigations we went to their residences with a search warrant,” Coothen said.

Mauritius markets itself as a link between Africa and Asia and is striving to move from an economy mostly based on sugar, textiles and tourism toward offshore banking, business outsourcing and luxury real estate.

Writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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