A French judge has launched a probe into three sitting African presidents accused of using public funds to buy homes and cars in France.
The presidents of Gabon, Congo Republic and Equatorial Guinea are all suspected of embezzling state money to feed their luxury lifestyles. In 2007, French police discovered the leaders and their families owned dozens of bank accounts and homes in rich areas of Paris as well as large collection of super cars. President of Transparency International France Daniel Lebegue said: ‘‘By applying the United Nations anti-corruption convention, we seek to have this public money, which was embezzled by these leaders and their families, returned to the people it belongs to.’‘ Omar Bongo of Gabon seen here as well as Enis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo and Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea deny any wrong-doing. The case threatens to strain relations between the three oil-producing African states and France which has close diplomatic and economic ties with all three countries.