Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Ivory Coast police have arrested and charged two men accused of posing as a woman online to blackmail MP Tony Clement with sexually explicit photos he sent to them.
The RCMP says it is assisting law officials in the West African country
In a media statement, the Mounties’ National Division office — which handles cases in the region that includes Parliament Hill — 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.”
They declined to say more about the charges or their role in the investigation, but said their division “continues to work with its international partners on this matter.”
and declined to comment further on the charges the pair are facing abroad.
Clement, an independent MP now after stepping down from the Conservative caucus, is embroiled in a political and personal scandal that threatens his political livelihood.
The former senior government cabinet minister under then prime minister Stephen Harper, stepped down in November after admitting to poor judgement in the sexting scandal and claiming he was the victim of an extortion case.
According to CTV News it was their reporter Joyce Napier who first reported Jan. 18 that 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.
They say government officials in the Ivory Coast allege the two men created fake profiles on Instagram and LinkedIn pretending to be a white woman named “Brianna Dounia,” and 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 — $75,000 Cdn — and threatened to release the content if Clement didn’t pay up.
Clement, who is married to fellow Brampton lawyer Lynne Golding with whom they have 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.
He then left the Conservative caucus.
It was at this point that he was removed from the federal Conservative caucus.
He has resumed sitting in the House of Commons as an independent MP and has said he will not resign, despite at least one call by a group of Muskoka women to do so.
Clement apologized to his constituents and said the exchanges were made “during a period of personal difficulty and weakness.”