Equatorial Guinea: UK imposes financial sanctions on president’s son

The United Kingdom is to impose financial sanctions on the vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of the current president for corruption and embezzlement of public funds and citizens of Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Iraq, the British government said on Thursday.  

Teodoro Obiang Mangue, 53, is punished for involvement in the misappropriation of state funds and diversion to personal bank accounts, execution of corrupt contracts and solicitation of bribes, the Foreign Office said.

According to the British government, the lavish lifestyle of ‘Teodorin’, as he is known, is inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister.

In addition to a $100 million mansion (€85 million at the current exchange rate) in Paris and a $38 million (€32 million) private jet, he is said to have acquired a luxury yacht, dozens of luxury cars including Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins and a collection of objects that belonged to singer Michael Jackson, most notably a crystal-coated glove used on the “Bad” album tour, valued at $275,000.

Teodoro Obiang Mangue was sentenced in February 2020, in the second instance, to three years’ suspended imprisonment and fined €30 million by the French state for having improperly acquired considerable assets in France with money diverted from the coffers of Equatorial Guinea.

The African country, a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), is presided over by his father, 79-year-old Teodoro Obiang, who has been in power for 42 years since 1979.

According to French justice, the judges estimate money laundering at around €160 million.

In Switzerland, 25 of his high-end cars were seized and sold for €21 million, which was then donated to a social aid programme in Equatorial Guinea.

Other people added to the UK’s financial sanctions list today are Zimbabwean businessman Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei whose speculation in Treasury bonds caused a deflationary crisis in the country, Venezuelans Alex Nain Saab Morán and Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas for abusing public programmes to provide food and housing to people in need, and Iraqi Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan for corruption and embezzlement while governor of Nineveh province.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said these are people who lined their pockets at the expense of their citizens.

“The UK is committed to tackling the plague of corruption and holding those responsible for its corrosive effect to account. Corruption depletes the wealth of the poorest nations, keeps their people trapped in poverty and poisons the well of democracy,” he said in a statement.

The sanctions include freezing assets and banning travel to the country, measures that have been applied before to 22 other leaders and other people from countries including Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and Latin America.