Tunisia TV host gets eight months jail in fraud trial

Court spokesman: Samir El Wafi was found guilty of influence-peddling

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A Tunisian television host was sentenced to eight months in jail after a court ruled he offered to help a wanted businessman in exchange for an interview on his show, his lawyer said.

Samir El Wafi, one of the north African country's most well-known TV personalities, was found guilty of influence-peddling and fraud, a court spokesman said.

His lawyer Abdelaziz Essid told AFP his team would appeal Tuesday's sentencing.

Controversial host Wafi is best known for his weekly appearances on the private Al Hiwar Ettounsi channel. His show, "For Those Who Dare", features a different personality each Sunday who is grilled by the host.

Accused of sensationalism by his critics, Wafi has attracted a large fan base for his persistent questioning.

The presenter was found to have offered to intervene and "fix" the situation of on-the-run businessman Hamadi Touli -- a relative of one of former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's brothers-in-law -- in exchange for agreeing to be interviewed on Wafi's show.

Touli's wife recorded a purported conversation between the businessman and Wafi in which a sum of money was discussed.

The host has always maintained that his promise to Touli was a ploy to get him to appear on his show.

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