French court upholds guilty verdict on fraud charges for Equatorial Guinea's VP

Wednesday - 28/07/2021 08:54
Vice President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue gestures while arriving at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, for the inauguration of Incumbent South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 25, 2019. © Michele Spatar
Vice President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue gestures while arriving at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, for the inauguration of Incumbent South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 25, 2019. © Michele Spatar
France's highest appeal court on Wednesday upheld a guilty verdict against the son of Equatorial Guinea's president for embezzlement, paving the way for the potential return of tens of millions of dollars to the country's people.

Teodoro Obiang Mangue, who is also the vice president of the Gulf of Guinea nation, was handed a three-year suspended sentence and a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine at the end of his trial in absentia in 2020. Luxury assets seized in France during the investigation were ordered to be confiscated.

Transparency International, which was party to the case, has estimated that the seized goods, which include a mansion in the heart of the French capital, are worth around 150 million euros.

Obiang has always denied any wrongdoing and argued that French courts had no right to rule on his assets, but the Cour de Cassation rejected his appeal.

The residence at the centre of the dispute is a luxury residence on Avenue Foch in Paris -- a grand, sweeping road near the Arc de Triomphe. It has 101 rooms, a gym, a hair-dressing studio and a disco with a cinema screen.

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 Keywords: France, Equatorial Guinea

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