(The Independent) Coming To America (to launder his millions?)
(The Independent) Coming To America (to launder his millions?)Guy Adams June 16, 2012
The US Department of Justice filed an amended complaint attempting to seize more than $70 million worth of goods that belong to President Obiang's oldest son, Teodorin, which he allegedly purchased using fraud, corruption, and money laundering.
Question: how did an African politician, on an official salary of roughly $6,000 a month, manage to acquire the lifestyle of a Hollywood billionaire, partying at the Playboy mansion, travelling in private jets, and living at a $30m Malibu mansion filled with impressionist artwork, and surrounded by its own private golf course?
Answer: simple. First, that politician was lucky enough to be Teodoro Nguema Obiang, heir apparent to the autocratic dictator of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny country in West Africa which since discovering huge oil reserves in the mid 1990s has acquired the dubious distinction of having one of the world’s most spectacularly-corrupt governments.
Secondly, Obiang was able to find a pair of high-flying Beverly Hills lawyers who – in exchange for extravagant fees - were prepared to set up an opaque string of shell companies that allowed him to secretly control dozens of US bank accounts through which tens of millions of his ill-gotten dollars could be laundered.