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Bouthier Morocco Sex Abuse Case Broadens

An accuser speaks during a press conference organized by the Moroccan Association for the Rights of Victims in Tangiers on June 17, 2022, regarding the trial of Jacques Bouthier, the French former CEO of the Vilavi group who was charged with human trafficking and rape of a minor.

Morocco has detained a seventh suspect in a sexual abuse and trafficking case against French insurance tycoon Jacques Bouthier, while a seventh woman has lodged a case against him, lawyers said Saturday.

Bouthier, 75 and one of France's richest men, is being held in Paris on suspicion of child rape and trafficking.

Bouthier is also facing charges of plotting kidnap and possession of child pornography.

The Moroccan developments come after French prosecutors last month indicted two men -- one of them a police officer -- in relation to the Bouthier sex trafficking case.

He is under investigation in Morocco along with several of his employees, for alleged "people trafficking, sexual harassment and verbal and moral violence".

"In total, seven cases are now pending against Bouthier and his accomplices" in Morocco, lawyer Abdelfattah Zahrach told a news conference in the northern city of Tangiers.

He said "The victims have decided to break the silence, and others will follow."

Aicha Guellaa of the Moroccan Association for the Rights of Victims (AMDV), also a lawyer, said a French national, the seventh suspect to be detained in Morocco, was remanded in custody and set to appear before prosecutors on Saturday.

Five employees of Bouthier's insurance group Assu2000, later renamed Vilavi, were detained in Tangiers on July 6, while a sixth was charged but released.

Sexual abuse victims in Morocco often face social stigma, but five young women appeared at Saturday's press conference by attorney Zahrach.

Guellaa said Bouthier and his co-accused had formed "an organized criminal gang" and that more Moroccan victims would likely come forward.

Another woman who spoke at Saturday's press conference said she had been "really scared of reprisals" after speaking out.

"But we won't back down. We won't stop until the entire Bouthier mafia is behind bars."