US to seize assets from Equatorial Guinea leader's son

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

The US government says it is seeking to recover assets worth more $70m (£44m) from the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is accused of using his ministerial position to plunder his nation's wealth.

His US assets include a Gulfstream jet, yachts, cars and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Most residents of Equatorial Guinea lives below the poverty line, despite the country's vast oil revenues.

Last month, France seized 11 luxury cars belonging to Mr Obiang, who is known as Teodorin in his home country where he currently serves as minister of agriculture.

The corruption watchdog Transparency International has put Equatorial Guinea in the top 12 of its list of most corrupt states.

'Lived the high life'

US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said Mr Obiang had amassed wealth of more than $100m "on a modest government salary".

"While his people struggled, he lived the high life - purchasing a Gulfstream jet, a Malibu mansion and nearly $2m in Michael Jackson memorabilia," he said in a statement.

Court documents suggest the Michael Jackson memorabilia includes music industry awards, signed songsheets and pairs of crystal-covered socks.

"We are sending the message loud and clear: the United States will not be a hiding place for the ill-gotten riches of the world's corrupt leaders," Mr Breuer said.

Teodorin's father - President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo - seized power from his uncle and has been in power for more than three decades.

A 2004 US Senate investigation into the Washington-based Riggs Bank found that President Obiang's family had received huge payments from US oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Amerada Hess.

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