2 reporters arrested over attempt to extort $90M from businessman

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See the below statement from Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC: 

A report by a businessman led to a police investigation which uncovered among other things, that two media operatives and Rickforde Burke are the persons behind the Guyana News Network (GNN), a site that has posted lies and slander targeting opponents of the PNC/APNU+AFC. 

On 29th August 2022, the businessman made a police report alleging that Guyana News Network (GNN) posted an article on social media (Facebook) with his (businessman) photograph stating that he is involved in illegal activities.  

In a statement to the police, the businessman denied the allegations, stating that it has caused him to be embarrassed and his reputation was tarnished. 

In his interview with police investigators, he said that he was contacted by Alex Wayne and Kaieteur News reporter Gary Eleazar, both of whom are close associates of Dorwain Bess, another businessman with whom he has a dispute.  

He said that he was told by Alex Wayne and Eleazar that it was Bess who told them to publish the article. In order to have the article removed the two were demanding $90M.  

As a result of this information, the police conducted a sting operation on the 23rd of September 2022 on the East Coast of Demerara between 15:40 hours and 16:35hours. The ranks gave the businessman marked cash along with instructions.  

Alex Wayne and Gary Eleazar arrived at the location and went to the businessman where they engaged in a conversation. 

The two demanded $1M in order to remove the post from the GNN Facebook page. They also told the businessman that Rickforde Burke is an admin of the site along with them.  

The two were intercepted by the cops after they left with the cash. A search was done on the two and ranks found the divided cash on both of them.  

In addition, police ranks confiscated two cellular phones and a laptop and further searches were conducted at their homes. A laptop and three hard drives were found at Gary Eleazar’s home. 

Alex Wayne admitted during a video and audio-recorded interview that he acted in concert with Dorwain Bess and Gary Eleazar to create and publish the said post on the GNN Facebook page because Bess and the businessman have an ongoing issue.

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