Washington – The son of Equatorial Guinea’s president has agreed to turn over more than $30 million in ill-gotten gains – including a Malibu villa, a Ferrari and Michael Jackson memorabilia, US prosecutors said on Friday.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who is also the second vice president of Equatorial Guinea, racked up than $300m through embezzlement, extortion, and money laundering, while earning a government salary under $100 000 a year, the department of justice said in a statement.
“Obiang embarked on a corruption-fuelled spending spree in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, adding that Obiang raked in “millions in bribes and kickbacks.”
The relinquished items will be sold, with $20m of proceeds to be given to a charity benefiting Equatorial Guinea, the justice department said.
Another $10.3m will be forfeited to the United States and redistributed to his country, the statement added.
Obiang will be permitted to keep certain items, including a Gulfstream Jet, but if they “are ever brought into the United States, they are subject to seizure and forfeiture”.
“Obiang shamelessly looted his government and shook down businesses in his country to support his lavish lifestyle, while many of his fellow citizens lived in extreme poverty,” Caldwell said.
The settlement prevents Obiang from hiding other stolen money in the United States”, she added.
Obiang, who goes by the nickname Teodorin, is also under investigation in France, where he has acquired a substantial number of properties.
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