On trial for corruption: French prosecutors demand jail term and €30 million fine for Obiang

On trial for corruption: French prosecutors demand jail term and €30 million fine for Obiang

The corruption trial of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, ended in Paris on 6 July with the prosecution calling for a three-year jail term, a €30 million (US$34 million) fine and the confiscation of assets. The Tribunal will return a verdict on 27 October.

The 48-year-old vice-president of Equatorial Guinea was not in court to hear the prosecution’s claim that he used money stolen from his country’s treasury and laundered through a shell company to fund a lavish lifestyle in France.

Brave witnesses for the prosecution testified knowing that the situation in Equatorial Guinea is tense for their families. Two witnesses are currently seeking political asylum in Spain and should be granted full protection.

Over 75 per cent of people in my country live below the poverty line, where thousands of people lack clean water, food, housing, decent hospitals or adequate schools or basic dignity.

Tutu Alicante Trial witness, and Executive Director Equatorial Guinea Justice

The trial comes after a decade-long fight by Transparency International and Sherpa to win the right for civil society to present evidence. It required a change to French law and a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the case was heard.

The defence tried to argue that it was illegal for a French court to hear the case but the judge disagreed. The alleged money-laundering took place in France.

It is an honour for me and for our country to host the first trial of a kleptocrat. The twenty-first century will demonstrate the intolerance of all the world citizens to powerful people using their power to become wealthier.

William Bourdon Lawyer for the prosecution

This is a milestone against impunity in the history of the anti-corruption movement. The citizens of Equatorial Guinea have a voice to help them win justice in the face of grand corruption.

José Ugaz Chair Transparency International

This trial is a strong signal to corrupt leaders around the world that they are no longer immune from prosecution anywhere. The impunity they enjoyed is getting weaker every day.

Marc-André Feffer Chair Transparency International France

Obiang is accused of using stolen money to buy, among other things, a 20-room apartment worth an estimated €80 million (US$91 million) in Paris and a garage full of luxury cars.

This is not the first time Obiang has been indicted. In 2014, Obiang reached a settlement in the US on separate corruption charges. He was forced to sell a multi-million dollar mansion in Malibu, California and donate US$30 million to a charity to help people in Equatorial Guinea. This settlement attracted considerable global attention.

For Transparency International, it is vital that the final outcome of cases of foreign corruption result in the return of assets to the victims.

Image: Transparency International

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

World Whistleblower Day 2019 – is this a landmark year for whistleblower protection?

Too often, whistleblowers face retaliation after bringing corruption, fraud and financial malpractice to light. Is change around the corner? This year, we celebrate World Whistleblower Day, 23 June, with some serious wins for whistleblower protection already behind us in 2019, and some encouraging developments on the horizon.

Austria’s Strache affair and the undue influence toolkit

A week ago, German newspapers published evidence of the former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and a colleague apparently negotiating corrupt deals with the purported niece of a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin. The scandal illustrates the tools and methods used by those who wish to enrich themselves from public funds and advance private interests over the public good.

Why corruption matters in the EU elections

What voters should know as they head to the polls.

Four ways the G20 can take the lead on anti-corruption

The globalisation of world trade and finance has been accompanied by an internationalisation of corruption. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group therefore has the potential to be a very important partner in the fight for a more just world.

Venezuela: Se necesitan instituciones sólidas para abordar la delincuencia organizada

La corrupción en las más altas esferas del Gobierno venezolano ha causado inestabilidad social y económica extrema y ha debilitado a las instituciones estatales que deberían proteger a la ciudadanía. Las redes de delincuencia organizada actúan con impunidad en todo el país.

Venezuela: Strong institutions needed to address organised crime

Corruption in the top echelons of the Venezuelan government has led to extreme instability and weak state institutions, and allows organised crime networks to act with impunity all across the country.

The trillion dollar question: the IMF and anti-corruption one year on

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made public commitments and adopted a new framework to address corruption - we check how the IMF is progressing with this one year later.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media