U.S. LawsuitsNovember 30, 2011
Lawsuits were filed in the U.S. in October 2011 against President Obiang and his son Teodoro.
September and October were difficult months for the Obiang family. On September 28, French authorities seized 11 cars in Paris belonging to the family of President Obiang as part of an ongoing corruption investigation in France. On October 4, UNESCO decided to continue the suspension of the $3 million UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.
On October 7, Lanny Davis, a Washington DC-based lobbyist who had been working for President Obiang under a $2 million contract that was suddenly terminated in February 2011, filed a lawsuit against President Obiang for unpaid expenses.
On October 13, Ken Silverstein reported in Foreign Policy that "the Justice Department filed a 'lis pendens' -- a written notice that a lawsuit concerning title to property has been filed -- with the Los Angeles County recorder's office." According to his sources, the document "identifies a number of Teodorin's assets as relevant to the legal action, including his mansion, a private jet, a variety of sports cars, a white crystal-covered glove from Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour, and other memorabilia of the King of Pop."
The Justice Department has since made public its two forfeiture complaints, one filed in the District of Columbia District Court and one filed in Central California District Court. The complaints seek to seize more than $70m worth of Teodorín’s assets purchased in the U.S., including his $30m mansion in Malibu, a $38.5m Gulfstream jet, and more than $1m worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia. The complaints document a myriad of illegal schemes, including embezzlement, extortion, and the misappropriation of government funds, allegedly used by Teodorín and other government officials belonging to President Obiang’s inner circle.