BREAKING NEWS

Now Reading:

African VP on trial in Paris for embezzling millions to fund extravagant lifestyle


France

African VP on trial in Paris for embezzling millions to fund extravagant lifestyle

While over half the country lives in poverty, Equatorial Guinea’s vice president was on trial in Paris for using €100 million of public funds to fuel his lavish lifestyle in France.

Teodorin Obiang, a 48-year-old whose father has been president since a 1979 coup, faces a maximum 10 years in prison and a fine of up to €50 million.

In a case over a decade in the making, the list of his extravagant purchases in France include:

  • A 101-room Paris mansion, bought for €25 million in 2005 including a Turkish bath, hair salon, two gyms, a nightclub and a movie theatre. Though, the International Court of Justice ruled it had legal status as a diplomatic mission, giving it immunity from any further searches or seizures of any property or documents without permission of the head of the mission.
  • Two yachts, the 76-metre ‘Ebony Shine’, which was seized in the Netherlands, and the 90-metre ‘Ice’, worth around €250 million, though he and the Guinean government say they are state property.

Around €50 million in furniture and art including:

  • A €5.6 million Edgar Degas pastel and five works by Auguste Rodin, worth €1.5 million.
  • Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collections worth over €20 million
  • a vintage clock worth almost €5 million.
  • 300 bottles of Château Pétrus, one of the world’s most expensive wines, to the tune of €2 million.

Nine luxury cars seized from the Paris estate were auctioned off in 2013 for €2.8 million, including:

  • Two Bugatti Veyrons
  • Two Bentleys
  • A Ferrari 599 GTO
  • A Rolls-Royce Phantom
  • A Mercedes Maybach 62
  • A Maserati MC 12
  • A Porsche Carrera 980 GT


The Swiss government also seized 11 luxury cars belonging to Obiang last year, including the Koenigsegg One:1, one of only seven ever produced.

With a yearly salary of under €100,000, French prosecutors said he used his former post of agricultural minister to line his pockets, exerting influence over the country’s timber industry.

In 2014, he agreed to a $30 million settlement in the U.S., which resolved similar allegations that forced the sale of his Malibu mansion and various pieces of Michael Jackson memorabilia.