The first French trial against African kelptocrats has opened on January 2, 2017. It targets Theodore Nguema Obiang Mangue, the Vice-President and son of the long term tyrant of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Three African heads of state are targeted by the French and European courts. These include the Congolese dictator Sassou-Nguesso and his relatives and the ruling families of Angola, Gabon, and Burkina-Faso.
Theodore Nguema Obiang Mangue is accused of abuse of social goods, embezzlement of public funds, abuse of trust and corruption. Among the properties located in France and covered by trial are a private mansion of 4,000 square meters in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris with faucets covered with gold leaf, a collection of some 17 luxury cars, and a bank account with a balance of more than $110 million.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered $30 million out of $70 million stolen from Equatorial Guinea's people, from Theodora Obiang Nguema. The nepotistic tyrant's son had used $100 million to buy expensive properties in the US, including a hilltop mansion in Malibu, CA, expensive sports cars and the well famed diamond encrusted Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour White Glove. He agreed to a $30 million settlement to resolve the U.S. government's accusations that he used the 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 the crystal-encrusted glove.
He was allowed to keep a Gulfstream jet and most of his Michael Jackson collection, including the white glove from Jackson's "Bad" world tour, because these assets were not on the United States soil. However, they will be seized if they enter the United States.
The US has set up a special unit, at the Justice Department, known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI), under the Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS). So far, the unit has pursued cases involving dictators, corrupt foreign officials and royalty.
In September 2015, French courts seized two luxury properties belonging to the Congolese Sassou-Nguessoand and his relatives.
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