Two sisters with many Instagram followers are reportedly being held in Nigeria on charges of cyberbullying and extorting a wealthy Nigerian man.
Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo, Canadian sisters who combined have almost 50,000 followers on Instagram, have been detained in Lagos, Nigeria, where the two will reportedly face charges they attempted to extort a Nigerian billionaire, the Toronto Star reports.
Jyoti and Kiran allegedly tried to blackmail Femi Otedala, telling him they had proof he was cheating on his wife. The sisters allegedly threatened to post evidence of the infidelity to a sex-scandal website.
Otedala, who made his fortune in energy, is worth an estimated $1.8 billion.
The Matharoo sisters have been accused of being "responsible" for website NaijaGistLive, where "damaging stories were written" about Otedala and his family, African blog Jeloser reports. The sisters also allegedly managed several other profiles on Twitter and Instagram that were reportedly used to cyberbully more than 200 people "mostly based in various regions of Africa."
"They approached certain people who they knew were wealthy," said Politics Nigeria publisher Dumebi Ifeanyi, CityNews reports.
"They told them that, this is what they have on them, these are the image they have," Ifeanyi said. "If they don't want it to go out in public, if they don't want a story to go out in public, they should pay a certain amount."
The sisters made an initial court appearance in December, after Otedala filed a complaint with police. The Matharoo sisters face four years in prison for cyberbullying, blackmail and extortion if they are found guilty.
Kiran and Jyoti are due back in court at the end of January. Global Affairs Canada has said it is providing consular services for the sisters, and confirmed the two are being detained in Lagos.