Britain on Thursday sanctioned the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president for misappropriating millions of dollars which London said was spent on luxury mansions, private jets and a $275,000 glove worn by Michael Jackson.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Teodoro Obiang Mangue, who is also vice president of Equatorial Guinea, had participated in “corrupt contracting arrangements and soliciting bribes, to fund a lavish lifestyle inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister.”
The Equatorial Guinea government did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Britain said Obiang had bought a $100 million mansion in Paris, a $38 million private jet, a luxury yacht, and dozens of luxury vehicles including Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins.
The foreign ministry said he also bought “a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia including a $275,000 crystal-covered glove that Jackson wore on his “Bad” tour.
Crackdown on Obiang’s wealth
Sanctions announced by London include asset freezes and a travel ban. Obiang is, however, not new to a global crackdown on his humongous wealth.
In 2016, a collection of luxury cars belonging to the 53-year-old politician were confiscated by Swiss authorities following a corruption probe. The supercars were auctioned off in 2019 – racking up millions of dollars in sales.
In 2017, Obiang was convicted for corruption by a French court and handed a three-year suspended jail term after prosecutors accused him of embezzlement of public funds and money laundering.
Obiang’s lavish spending was again spotlighted in 2018 after Brazilian police seized millions of dollars in cash, including a set of luxury watches from a delegation traveling with the wealthy Central African ruler following a search on their private aircraft in Sao Paulo.
Obiang’s father President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled Equatorial Guinea since taking power in a coup in 1979, eleven years after independence from Spain.
The country grew rich in the past few decades due to the exploitation of its oil reserves, but more than 76% of the population live in poverty, according to the World Bank.