U.S. wants to recover $71 million allegedly amassed by son of president of Equatorial Guinea

Story highlights

  • Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea
  • The U.S. says he and others were "near-exclusive beneficiaries" of millions
  • The money came from "the extraction and sale of the country's natural resources"
  • The U.S. has filed forfeiture complaints to seize almost $71 million in assets
The Justice Department says the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea engaged in corruption that robbed his nation of millions of dollars in assets, and that he then laundered the money by making high-priced purchases in the United States that included a crystal-covered glove once belonging to the late singer Michael Jackson.
Now the United State has filed forfeiture complaints to seize almost $71 million in property and merchandise acquired by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.
The U.S. hopes to seize a $30 million house in Malibu, California, a Gulfstream jet with a price tag of $38.5 million, almost $2 million in Michael Jackson memorabilia, and a 2011 Ferrari worth more than half a million dollars.
The Justice Department says Nguema made less than $100,000 a year as minister of agriculture and forestry but he amassed more than $100 million when he and a group of associates in Equatorial Guinea were the "near-exclusive beneficiaries of the extraction and sale of that country's natural resources."
"While his people struggled, he lived the high life," said Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer. "We are sending the message loud and clear: the United States will not be a hiding place for the ill-gotten riches of the world's corrupt leaders."
Nguema is the son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo. According to the Justice Department asset forfeiture complaints, since 2004 Equatorial Guinea has been the third largest oil and gas producer in Sub-Saharan Africa and is also a timber exporter.