The “playboy” son of the president of Equatorial Guinea has been forced to give up a $30m Malibu mansion, a Ferrari and Michael Jackson memorabilia after a corruption probe.
44-years-old Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is also the country’s second vice president, has agreed to give up the assets after reaching an agreement with US authorities.
About $20m of the proceeds will be given to a charitable organisation to be used to benefit of Equatorial Guinea’s people.
Another $10.3m will be forfeited to the US government, which will use the money to benefit the people of Equatorial Guinea.
Part of the money he has to forfeit is $1m to cover the value of Michael Jackson memorabilia already removed from the US, including a “Thriller” jacket and a crystal-covered glove.
According to US officials, even though Mr Obiang’s official government salary was less than $100,000, he used his position and influence to gather a fortune of more than $300m through corruption and money laundering.
A civil forfeiture case filed three years ago alleged Mr Obiang spent $70m of the looted profits on the mansion, the Michael Jackson memorabilia and a Gulfstream jet.
Thomas Winkowski, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said: “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.”
Mr Obiang said in a statement that his property “was acquired with funds earned in accordance with the laws of my country and through business dealings inside and outside Equatorial Guinea” but said he was pleased to put an end to the legal proceedings.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported in 2012 that the French authorities “towed away 11 luxury cars, including a Maserati, a Porsche Carrera, an Aston Martin and a Mercedes Maybach” belonging to Mr Obiang Jnr.
It followed a raid on a Paris mansion owned by the “playboy” during another inquiry.