French authorities have seized the Paris mansion of the son of Equatorial Guinea’s leader as part of a money-laundering probe involving French and American authorities. Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, 43, son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo is being sought on corruption charges.
His Paris villa, thought to be worth over £100 million was seized last month after a French judge had ordered him to appear in court to answer corruption charges. Mr Obiang denies any wrongdoing. The six-storey luxury mansion is located on Avenue Foch, one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods of the French capital. A week earlier, Judge Roger Le Loire had issued an international search warrant after Obiang refused to be interviewed by magistrates on charges of corruption.
A US senate investigation has revealed that between 2004-2008, Obiang managed to move $110 million into the US by circumnavigating post-9/11 laws designed to stop nefarious figures abusing US hospitality. He is said to have “used two lawyers who helped him with shell company accounts, two real estate agents who helped him purchase a $30 million home in Malibu, Calif., and an escrow agent who assisted him in buying his privatre $38.5 million Gulfstream jet.”
The current allegations against him were brought forward by the anti-corruption group, Transparency International which suspects that Mr Obiang, as well his father and several other African leaders, are using state assets to acquire property in France. Obiang’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, told the AFP news agency in mid-July that he had not been informed that any mandate for his client’s arrest had been issued.