FACTBOX-African leaders' French assets under scrutiny

Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:52am GMT

French police found that Sassou-Nguesso and his close relatives own 24 properties and 112 bank accounts in France.

They found that Sassou-Nguesso's daughter Edith, who was Bongo's late wife, and other members of the ruling family of Congo, bought a mansion in the rich 8th district of Paris for 18.9 million euros -- the single biggest transaction mentioned in the police file.

In an interview in March with French newspaper Le Figaro, Sassou-Nguesso said his French property portfolio was modest and he was not responsible for what his children and relatives did.

He said he had acquired Villa Suzette, a mansion in the rich Paris suburb of Le Vesinet, to house his children while they were studying in France.


A former Spanish colony, tiny Equatorial Guinea burst onto the sub-Saharan African oil scene relatively late, in 1992, and has quickly risen to the rank of third-biggest producer, after Nigeria and Angola. Oil output is estimated at 380,000 bpd.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo seized power from his dictatorial uncle in a palace coup in 1979 and has ruled ever since. Amnesty International says his human rights record is one of the worst on the continent.

French police identified eight luxury cars and one apartment in a wealthy part of Paris owned by Obiang's son Teodorin, also minister for agriculture and forestry. The cars, worth a total of 4.2 million euros, are two Ferraris, one Maybach, two Bugattis, one Rolls-Royce Phantom and two Maseratis.

Authorities in Equatorial Guinea have not responded specifically to the French investigation, although they have defended their record in the past, saying it was legal in their country for ministers to receive commissions on business deals. (For a related analysis, please double click on [ID:nLR519071]) (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi (L) welcomes Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak as he arrives to attend a meeting involving five Arab states in Tripoli June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer
Will 2012 see more strong men of Africa leave office?

There are many reasons for being angry with Africa ’s strong men, whose autocratic ways have thrust some African countries back into the eye of the storm and threatened to undo the democratic gains in other parts of the continent of the past decades.  Blog 

Kenyan troops patrol the Garrisa airstrip October 18, 2011. Al Qaeda-linked militants prepared to defend a south Somali town on Tuesday from advancing Kenyan and government troops, while a suicide car bomb killed six people in Mogadishu during a visit by a Kenyan minister.  REUTERS/Gregory Olando
Operation Somalia: The U.S., Ethiopia and now Kenya

Ethiopia did it five years ago, the Americans a while back. Now Kenya has rolled tanks and troops across its arid frontier into lawless Somalia, in another campaign to stamp out a rag-tag militia of Islamist rebels that has stoked terror throughout the region with threats of strikes.  Blog 

New recruits belonging to Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebel group march during a passing out parade at a military training base in Afgoye, west of the capital Mogadishu February 17, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
Could Islamist rebels undermine change in Africa?

Creeping from the periphery in Africa’s east and west, Islamist militant groups now pose serious security challenges to key countries and potentially even a threat to the continent’s new success.  Blog 

A disabled Somali refugee child crawls from their makeshift house at the Ifo camp near Daadab, about 80km (50 miles) from Liboi on the border with Somalia in north-eastern Kenya, February 4, 2009. The growing flow of Somalis fleeing conflict at home has led to overcrowding in refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya and the United Nations expects the influx to continue, an official said. REUTERS/Noor Khamis
The children of Dadaab: Life through the lens

Through my video “The children of Dadaab: Life through the Lens” I wanted to tell the story of the Somali children living in Kenya’s Dadaab. Living in the world’s largest refugee camp, they are the ones bearing the brunt of Africa’s worst famine in sixty years.  Blog 

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) and his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo arrive for the opening of the Harare Agricultural Show, August 31, 2007. President Robert Mugabe on Friday imposed a new law on Zimbabwean businesses banning them from raising wages to keep pace with the world's highest inflation. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Who among the seven longest serving African leaders will be deposed next?

Several African leaders watching news of the death of Africa ’s longest serving leader are wondering who among them is next and how they will leave office.  Blog 

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama jokes with photographers during a news conference  in Sao Paulo September 16, 2011.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Was South Africa right to deny Dalai Lama a visa?

Given that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and given the close relationship between Beijing and the ruling African National Congress, it didn’t come as a huge surprise that South Africa was in no hurry to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama.  Blog 

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.