RCMP assisting West African officials that arrested 2 men in Tony Clement blackmail case
Published Monday, January 21, 2019 1:09PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 21, 2019 5:02PM EST
OTTAWA – The RCMP is assisting Ivory Coast authorities regarding the West African country's arrest of two men who are accused of posing as a woman online to blackmail former Conservative MP Tony Clement with sexually explicit photos that he sent them.
In a statement to media, the RCMP National Division confirmed that Ivory Coast officials have arrested and charged the two men, "as a result of excellent collaborative efforts with its internal law enforcement partners."
The National Division—which handles cases in the region that includes Parliament Hill— "continues to work with its international partners on this matter," and declined to comment further on the charges the pair are facing abroad.
As CTV News' Joyce Napier first reported on Jan. 18, the two men were arrested last month by the Ivory Coast’s cybercrimes unit. Sources at that time confirmed that the arrests of the two men identified only by the initials CH and DML, are linked to Clement's case.
Government officials in the Ivory Coast allege that the two men created fake profiles on Instagram and LinkedIn pretending to be a white woman named "Brianna Dounia." They allegedly used the accounts to correspond with Clement and a French citizen.
Once in possession of the explicit images, the suspects allegedly demanded $50,000 Euros -- equivalent to $75,000 -- and threatened to release the content if Clement didn't pay up.
Clement, who is married with three children, admitted in November to sending explicit images and video to someone he believed was a consenting woman but turned out to be what he called a "foreign actor." He said that he alerted the RCMP to the attempted extortion and they began investigating the matter to determine who was responsible.
Not long after this situation came to light, the 57-year-old admitted to additional inappropriate exchanges that "led to acts of infidelity" and said he planned to seek help.
It was at this point that he was removed from the federal Conservative caucus.
Clement apologized and said the exchanges were made "during a period of personal difficulty and weakness." He said he planned to take steps to repair his relationship with his wife, Lynne Golding, a Toronto-based lawyer.
He has held a seat in the House of Commons since 2006, has served in multiple cabinet positions, and has twice ran unsuccessfully for leadership the Conservative Party.
He has vowed to stay on as the MP for Parry-Sound Muskoka, Ont. as an independent. CTV News has made multiple attempts to reach Clement for comment regarding the arrests.
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