Saturday, 8 March 2014
Paris Villa Of Equatorial Guinea Leader's Son Obiang Seized-BBC
French authorities have seized the Paris mansion of the son of Equatorial Guinea's leader as part of a money-laundering probe, officials confirm.
Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue is currently being sought on corruption charges.
His Paris villa is thought to be worth between 100m (£79m: $124m) and 150m euros, the AFP news agency reports.
Mr Obiang, the 43-year-old son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, denies any wrongdoing.
Authorities seized the six-storey property on July 19, a court official told the BBC.
The luxury mansion is located on Avenue Foch in one the most prestigious neighbourhoods of the French capital.
A week earlier, Judge Roger Le Loire had issued an international search warrant after Mr Obiang refused to be interviewed by magistrates on charges of corruption.
The allegations were brought forward by anti-corruption group Transparency International. The organisation suspects Mr Obiang, as well his father and several other African leaders, of using state assets to acquire property in France.
Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. Teodorin Obiang is known for his lavish lifestyle
Mr Obiang's lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, told the AFP news agency in mid-July that he had not been informed that any mandate for his client's arrest had been issued.
He added that any such warrant would be a "non-event" due to Mr Obiang's status.
"Mr Obiang has judicial immunity as he is the vice-president of Equatorial Guinea and therefore could not attend the summons," Mr Marsigny said.
Correspondents say Mr Obiang, who serves as agriculture minister, is known for his lavish lifestyle.
He recently hit the headlines when he honoured his promise to pay his national football team $1m (£641,000) for winning the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations which Equatorial Guinea co-hosted earlier this year.
In October 2011, the US government said it would seek to recover assets worth more $70m from Mr Obiang. A month earlier, French police seized some fifteen luxury cars belonging to Mr Obiang, including a Maserati, Aston Martin and Rolls Royce.
Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa's largest oil exporters, but most of its 720,000-strong population lives in poverty.
President Obiang seized power from his uncle in 1979 and was re-elected last year with 95% of the vote.