Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Nguema Settles Kleptocracy Case in US

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The United States (U.S) Justice Department announced on Friday 10, 2014 that Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the African dictator of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has settled the embezzlement, corruption, money laundering case. According to the United States Justice Department, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is the Second Vice-President to his father, has agreed to a $30 million settlement to resolve the U.S. government's accusations that he used money plundered from his country to acquire massive assets in the Unites States, including private jets, Ferrari, a $30 million mansion in Malibu, California, and Michael Jackson memorabilia such as a crystal-encrusted glove.

He will get to keep a Gulfstream jet and most of his Michael Jackson collection, including the white glove from Jackson's "Bad" world tour. He was allowed to keep these assets because they were not on the Unites States soil. However, they will be seized if they enter the United States.

Son of African Dictatorship and Kleptocracy

Nguema Obiang is a second vice president of Equatorial Guinea, rich in oil and other resources but reputed by transparency advocates to be among the most corrupt and repressive countries in the world, where the majority of the people is very poor.

In October 2011, AfroAmerica Network documented the case in the discourse titled "The Dilemma of Dictatorts Part V: Focus on Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, published on October 28, 2011 (see here).

Nguema Obiang has disputed the U.S. accusations and claimed that the assets were purchased with his own money, proceeds from businesses, despite being paid a salary of less than $100,000 a year.

US Government Satisfied

Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division, expressed her satisfaction that Justice is finally catching up with corrupt dictators and their families. Expressing the satisfaction, Caldwell said:

"Through relentless embezzlement and extortion, Vice President Nguema Obiang shamelessly looted his government and shook down businesses in his country to support his lavish lifestyle, while many of his fellow citizens lived in extreme poverty. After raking in millions in bribes and kickbacks, Nguema Obiang embarked on a corruption-fueled spending spree in the United States."

The deal with the US Department of Justice requires Nguema Obiang to sell the Malibu mansion, a Ferrari, and items from the Michael Jackson collection located in the United States. From the proceeds, $20 million will go to a charity, yet to be selected, for the benefit to the people of Equatorial Guineawith and $10.3 million will be kept by the US Department of Justice to cover court and legal expenses.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also expressed its satisfaction. Thomas Winkowski, acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that:  "While this settlement is certainly gratifying for the many investigators and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition, it is undoubtedly even more rewarding for the people of Equatorial Guinea, knowing that at least some of the money plundered from their country's coffers is being returned to them.".

Because he is the Vice-President of his country of Equatorial Guinea, Nguema Obiang is protected by diplomatic immunity and hence, will be allowed to travel to the United States.

Equatorial Guinea is one case among  many in Africa

It is believed that hundreds of millions of assets also embezzled by the son of the African dictator and his family remain within the scope of the US legal case but are hidden in countries around the World, especially in France.

The case remains one of several examples of corruption, embezzlement and kleptocracy in several underdeveloped countries, especially in Africa. Among the countries cited are Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see Joseph Kabila's Brother, Zoe Kabila Beats Evariste Boshab Unconscious over Forbes Article of July 24, 2014), Rwanda (see  The Dilemma of General Paul Kagame of Rwanda: Between Hardliners and Opposition of September 14, 2012)The Dilemma of General Paul Kagame of Rwanda: Between Hardliners and Opposition of September 14, 2012), and Uganda.

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