Equatorial Guinea: Guilty verdict for Obiang junior makes history
We reported earlier that the son of Africa’s longest serving president has been given a three-year suspended jail term and a suspended fine of $35m (£27m) for corruption. Campaign group Global Witness says the sentence handed to Teodorin Obiang by a court in France is “the first time ever that a high-level official has been called to account on corruption related charges whilst still in office”.
His assets in France will be seized, including a mansion on Avenue Foch in Paris. He also got a suspended fine of 30m euros (£27m; $35m). 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.
He is the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema who has been in power since 1979, and whom human rights groups accuse of systematically repressing political opponents. Obiang Junior has been vice-president since 2012 and is often presented as his father’s successor.
Teodorin Obiang, pictured here in 2013, is known for his lavish lifestyle and is a collector of Michael Jackson memorabilia. Defence lawyers denounced the verdict, and accused France of “meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country”.
Relatives of long-time rulers in other African countries are under scrutiny in a case spearheaded by two anti-corruption NGOs. Family members of former president Omar Bongo of Gabon, and of president Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo are also being investigated.