, pub-7147620433166915, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Son of Equatorial Guinea's president Obiang Nguema handed 3-years suspended jail term for embezzling more than €150 million - Newsalert NG

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Son of Equatorial Guinea's president Obiang Nguema handed 3-years suspended jail term for embezzling more than €150 million

A French court on Friday handed the son of Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, a suspended sentence of three years in prison after he was found guilty of embezzling millions in public money.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue,48, who is the country's vice president, had been accused of spending millions of dollars allegedly linked to corruption, embezzlement, and extortion in his oil-rich African nation to fund his opulent lifestyle of fast cars, designer clothes, works of art and high-end real estate.

Obiang, who did not attend the trial was also handed a suspended fine of 30 million euros ($35 million), and ordered that all goods seized during the investigation should remain confiscated.

According to ABC News, his trial came after two non-governmental organizations targeting corruption and an association of Congolese citizens living abroad filed a lawsuit in France nearly 10 years ago against leaders in nearly a half-dozen African countries, alleging that they used state funds during or after their tenures to buy properties and luxury goods in France.

Obiang used millions of dollars in public money to stay in Parisian palaces and later purchased a mansion on one of the capital's most sought-after avenues.

The defense said the mansion serves as Equatorial Guinea's embassy and denied the charges, saying his wealth had come from legitimate sources. His lawyers accused France of "meddling in the affairs of a sovereign state", AFP news agency reported.

Court documents showed that in 2000-2011 Mr Obiang acquired a collection of luxury assets and properties in France, including the €25m Avenue Foch mansion. He also boasted 18 luxury cars in France, artworks, jewellery and expensive designer fashions.

Teodoro once splashed nearly 20 million euros at an art auction and his employers in Paris told investigators that their boss came to France with suitcases full of cash and paid mainly in cash for luxury goods.

In November, Swiss prosecutors seized 11 luxury cars belonging to Mr Obiang. They said he had plundered his country's oil wealth to buy luxuries, including a private jet and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Paris prosecutor Jean-Yves Lourgouilloux said Obiang’s “fraudulent spending” amounted to more than 150 million euros.

The Paris judge found that the president's son had used his position as agriculture and forestry minister to siphon off payments from timber firms who were exporting from Equatorial Guinea.

It was also learned that it's the first of three French investigations into the alleged "ill-gotten gains" of long-standing African leaders and their families.

The French daily Le Monde reports that the family of Gabon President Ali Bongo has 39 French luxury properties, while 24 are owned by the family of Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. They also have about 200 bank accounts, French police say.
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