Four Moroccan women accuse French tycoon of sexual harassment

·2-min read

Four women have pressed charges in Morocco against French insurance tycoon Jacques Bouthier, currently under arrest in Paris on charges of raping a minor, a rights group said Friday.

Bouthier is accused of various acts of "people trafficking, sexual harassment and verbal and moral violence," between 2018 and this year, said Karima Salama, a lawyer from the Moroccan Association for the Rights of Victims (AMDV).

"An enquiry has been opened and we have faith in the justice system," she said at a press conference in the northern port city of Tangiers, where the four alleged victims, aged from 26 to 28, had been employed by Bouthier's firm.

Bouthier, 75 and one of France's richest men, is ex-CEO of insurance group Assu2000, later renamed Vilavi.

Three of his Moroccan alleged victims told journalists on Friday about their experiences, using sanitary masks and dark glasses to hide their identities.

"He asked to sleep with me and when I said no, he asked me to introduce him to a sister, a female cousin or a friend, saying he would give me a nice present in exchange," one said.

The women said they had been sacked after refusing to "give in to harassment and blackmail" over their employment by Bouthier and other French and Moroccan executives.

The women said they had faced repeated sexual harassment and intimidation as well as threats to their jobs, in a city where many struggle to find work.

One said he had presented them to men working at the firm, telling them: 'If you bring in contracts, there will be beautiful Moroccan girls'.

"Jacques Bouthier... believes that with his financial power he can get away with anything, in complete impunity," said AMDV chief Aicha Guellaa.

Bouthier, was indicted on May 21 and arrested by Paris prosecutors after a preliminary investigation into accusations of people trafficking and rape of a minor.

He is also being prosecuted for conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping in an organised gang and possession of child pornography.

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