Cars SeizedSeptember 29, 2011
French police have seized 11 luxury cars in Paris belonging to the Obiang family as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.
On September 28, French authorities seized 11 luxury cars belonging to the family of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema as part of an ongoing corruption investigation. The Bugattis, Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, and other “supercars” were seized from the Obiang family home in an upscale neighborhood of Paris.
The seizures are part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the “ill-gotten gains” of African leaders Dennis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, the late Omar Bongo of Gabon, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. A judicial inquiry began after the NGOs Transparency International France, Sherpa, and the Arab Commission for Human Rights filed a complaint in 2007. In 2009, France’s Supreme Court ruled to admit the case, a landmark decision in the anti-corruption battle.
According to information that has come to light due to the investigation, the three African leaders own significant amounts of property, including 112 properties belonging to the Congolese president, and hold bank accounts in France. Police had already discovered that in November 2009, Obiang’s son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang (“Teodorin”), shipped 26 luxury cars and six motorcycles, valued at approximately $12 million, from the United States to Equatorial Guinea.
This possible evidence of illicit activity comes at a particularly urgent time as UNESCO prepares to debate whether to implement the $3 million UNESCO-Obiang Prize for research in the life sciences. Despite requests from EG Justice and other NGOs, the source of funding for the prize has not been thoroughly investigated, even though the donoris under criminal investigation for acts of corruption and money laundering.