Arrest sought of African leader's son
FRENCH POLICE have issued an arrest warrant for the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president as part of an investigation into African autocrats’ suspected “ill-gotten gains”.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang had been called in for questioning by financial fraud squad officers over allegations of embezzling state funds, money-laundering and breach of trust, in Paris on Wednesday.
When the 41-year-old, known as Teodorin or TNO, failed to show up, Roger Le Loire, the judge heading the unprecedented French investigations into the assets of three African heads of state and their families, immediately issued an arrest warrant.
Police seized a fleet of luxury cars, worth about €5 million, in a raid on Mr Obiang’s five-storey home on Avenue Foch, near the Champs Élysées last October. The mansion boasts a disco, spa room, hair salon, gold- and jewel-encrusted taps and balcony views of the Arc de Triomphe.
Mr Obiang is also under investigation on similar accusations in the US. In Paris, Mr Obiang’s fleet of sports cars, including a Maserati and an Aston Martin, did not go unnoticed by neighbours. In February, one told the Guardian: “The noise factor was extreme. He seemed obsessed with security so when he wanted to go out between midnight and 2am, he’d order the chauffeur to warm up four cars so no one knew which he’d take.
The investigation is targeting three African leaders and their families on suspicions they embezzled state funds and hid about €160 million worth of assets in France. The targets are Gabon’s late leader Omar Bongo and his son Ali Bongo, the country’s current leader; the Congo-Brazzaville president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, and his relatives; and Equatorial Guinean’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and family. – (Guardian service)