France sentences Equatorial Guinea VP

A French court has handed down a three-year suspended jail term to Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President Teodorin Obiang for corruption.
The 48-year-old, known for his lavish tastes, is the son of the oil-rich West African country’s president.
He was absent from the trial, where he was found guilty of embezzlement.

His assets in France will be seized, including a mansion on Avenue Foch in Paris. He also got a suspended fine of 30m euros (£27m; $35m).
Campaign group Global Witness says the sentence handed to Teodorin Obiang by a court in France is “the first time ever that a high-level official has been called to account on corruption related charges whilst still in office”.

His assets in France will be seized, including a mansion on Avenue Foch in Paris. He also got a suspended fine of 30m euros (£27m; $35m).
In November, Swiss prosecutors seized 11 luxury cars belonging to Mr Obiang. They said he had plundered his country’s oil wealth to buy luxuries, including a private jet and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

He is the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema who has been in power since 1979, and whom human rights groups accuse of systematically repressing political opponents.

Obiang Junior has been vice-president since 2012 and is often presented as his father’s successor.
Defence lawyers denounced the verdict, and accused France of “meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country”.
Relatives of long-time rulers in other African countries are under scrutiny in a case spearheaded by two anti-corruption NGOs.
Family members of former president Omar Bongo of Gabon, and of president Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo are also being investigated.

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