Any wonder, about how Equatorial Guinea – an African country which has a population of just over 1.2 million and a 2014 GDP of $15.53 billion – got ranked 138 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2015, can be suspended by an understanding of just how corrupt, Vice President Teodorin Obiang Nguema really is.
Back in 2011 before Teodorin Obiang Nguema had been appointed as Vice President by his President father Teodoro Obiang Nguema, French police had stormed his $180 million residence in Paris and carted away luxury cars as well as furniture and art that included a painting by Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir, worth $50 million.
The year 2014 also saw the US Department of Justice accusing Teodorin Obiang Nguema of laundering funds from corruption and seizing his $30 million mansion in Malibu, a Gulfstream jet and 28 collector’s cars.
Now, Swiss authorities have seized eleven of the world’s rarest and most expensive cars from another of the leader’s properties. The cars included a Swedish-made Koenigegg One which happens to be one of only seven ever produced and which went for $2.8 million.
The authorities also seized a $2 million Bugatti Veyron. All the cars were allegedly moved to a freight area at the Geneva Airport soon after the investigation was launched.
This seizure happens while the Equatorial Guinea government makes a case before the United Nations for why a French investigation into the corrupt leader should be stopped.
One reporter, Francois Pilet, who has frequently covered the Obiang scandals, suggested that the cars were being prepared to be moved abroad, before authorities received a tipoff.
Henri Della Casa, a spokesman for the Geneva justice department, confirmed that measures are being taken in a case involving money laundering and that “various acts of investigation have been carried out”.
Despite all this glaring evidence that points towards corruption, Teodoring Obiang Nguema continues to invoke diplomatic immunity on all fronts of investigation while lawyers under his employ argue before the United Nations that France prosecuting him would undermine Equatorial Guinea’s standing with the world.