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Geneva investigates son of Equatorial Guinea's leader

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Geneva investigates son of Equatorial Guinea's leader
Teodorin Obiang. Photo: Steve Jordan/AFP
08:45 CET+01:00
Geneva prosecutors said on Thursday they have opened a money laundering probe targeting the son of Equatorial Guinea's leader, accused of plundering his country to buy luxuries including a private jet and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

As part of the investigation against Teodorin Obiang, authorities in the Swiss city have seized 11 cars, said Vincent Derouand, spokesman for prosecutors in Geneva's cantonal government.
   
Among them were a Porsche 918 Spyder, valued at more than 750,000 euros ($830,000) and a Bugatti Veyron which sells for in excess two million euros, according to the L'Hebdo news site.
   
Obiang, 47, was in June promoted by his authoritarian father Teodoro Obiang Nguema to be vice president of the oil-rich west African nation.
   
Obiang was already set to face trial in France next year on corruption and embezzlement charges, although he is not expected to appear in court.
   
Derouand gave few specifics on the Swiss case.
   
Obiang's excesses also forced him to forfeit more than $30 million in assets in the United States, where he owned a mansion in Malibu, California.
   
In announcing the 2014 asset forfeiture deal, the US justice department accused Obiang of "relentless embezzlement and extortion".
   
Washington said Obiang earned a government salary of $100,000 but amassed a fortune of $300 million "through corruption and money laundering".
   
Among the assets he was forced to give up was a crystal-encrusted glove from Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour, for which he reportedly paid nearly half a million dollars.
   
Obiang's father seized power in Equatorial Guinea in 1979, making him Africa's longest serving ruler, just ahead of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
   
The country, Africa's only Spanish speaking nation, has become the continent's number three oil producer but experts say the vast majority of the population has not benefitted from the energy revenue boom.

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