An authoritative French newspaper Nouvel Observateur has reported that members of President Paul Biya’s family have spent more than three billion FCFA to buy luxury homes in Paris, Monaco and in different locations in France.
An investigative report published on Thursday, July 7, 2022 entitled “Luxury real estate: how France attracts the dubious money from around the world,” Nouvel Observateur revealed that Franck Emmanuel Biya and Chantal Biya respectively the eldest son and wife of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, are among sixty dubious persons who have invested hundreds of millions of Euros in France to buy houses and luxury apartments- a phenomenon on which there are strong suspicion of money laundering.
Five investigative French journalists who wrote the report stated that Franck Biya bought a luxury house near the principality of Monaco for nearly three million Euros in 2004 when he was aged 33.
Nouvel Observateur noted that the Franck Biya house has a swimming pool and it is located in a popular private estate at Cap-Martin, not far from Monaco. When French authorities asked him how he raised the money for the purchase, he did not answer.
The French paper also reported that Chantal Biya, the first lady owns three apartments in different locations in France.
The newspaper article also revealed that Chantal Biya is too extravagant evidenced by how much she spends on her hairstyles and her flashy stays in Geneva with President Biya.
The French journalists opined that Chantal Biya has never worked but registered a company in France that she used in spending more than 2 million Euros to buy three apartments in the 16th district of Paris, Levallois-Perret and in Nice between 1997 and 2009 – two of which were paid in cash and the third financed by a loan from BNP.
The first lady acquired the houses through a Cameroonian Senator, Pierre François-Xavier Menye Ondo, who is also a notary and a business partner, with only 1% share in two of the three purchases.
A leading French lawyer, William Bourdon quoted in the report said “From Saint-Tropez to the 16th district of Paris and from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to Montfort-l’Amaury, 62 people including Franck and Chantal Biya have spent, between 1985 and 2020, more than 744 million Euros to buy real estate in France”.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files