Africa

Judges seek warrant for Equatorial Guinea leader's son

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Teodorin Obiang serves as Equatorial Guinea's agriculture minister

French judges have requested an international arrest warrant for the son of the president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, reports say.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is being sought on money-laundering charges.

The two judges are investigating allegations that several African leaders bought assets in France with embezzled state funds.

Mr Obiang, the son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, denies any wrongdoing.

It is not yet known whether prosecutors have assented to the request, according to judicial sources.

French investigating judges Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman asked for the warrant after Equatorial Guinea's government denied a request to question Mr Obiang, who is known as Teodorin in his country.

Correspondents say Teodorin Obiang, who serves as agriculture minister, is known for his lavish lifestyle.

He recently hit the headlines when he honoured his promise to pay his national football team $1m (£641,000) for winning the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations which Equatorial Guinea co-hosted earlier this year.

Fine wines and artworks

Olivier Pardo, a lawyer for Equatorial Guinea, told the Reuters news agency that the decision to seek a warrant was "absurd".

Last month, police raided a property in an expensive district of Paris as part of the investigation, confiscating fine wines and artworks said to be worth millions of dollars.

The original legal complaint was brought by Transparency International, an anti-corruption campaign group that accuses several African leaders of acquiring property, cars and luxury items in France using misappropriated public money.

In October 2011, the US government said it would seek to recover assets worth more $70m (£44m) from Teodorin Obiang. A month earlier, French police seized several luxury cars from him.

The French judges' investigation also involves Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa's largest oil exporters, but most of its 720,000-strong population lives in poverty.

President Obiang seized power from his uncle in 1979 and was re-elected in 2009 with 95% of the vote.

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