Equatorial Guinea president's son goes on trial in Paris


Teodorin Obiang, son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is accused of amassing millions of dollars through 'bribes and kickbacks'.

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The corruption trial of Teodorin Obiang, the eldest son of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, opens Monday in Paris. Obiang is accused of amassing millions of dollars through "bribes and kickbacks", reports FRANCE 24.

Estimating the wealth of Teodorin Obiang, eldest son of Africa's longest serving leader, is a tricky business but US authorities came up with an eye-popping figure in 2014.

As they forced him to hand over property worth millions of dollars in a settlement, they put his net worth at around $300 million -- built up while earning a state salary of under $100,000 a year.

The fortune was amassed through "bribes and kickbacks", the Justice Department said, as he "shamelessly looted his government and shook down businesses in his country to support his lavish lifestyle."

Lavish barely captures the scale of his consumption and the figure might well be an under-estimate.

New details of his spending are expected to come to light during his corruption trial in France, which opens on Monday.

His Paris property portfolio includes a house worth more than 100 million euros. Rolls-Royces and racing cars, private jets and bespoke suits by the dozen.

Wild parties have forged his reputation as a notorious playboy.

Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea's president, once agreed to receive a French television crew in his suite at the plush Bristol hotel near the Champs-Elysees, his favourite part of Paris.

Talking of his pride in his wine collection, he was also filmed at the wheel of his cars -- ranging from Bentley and Rolls Royce to Ferrari and Lamborghini -- and buying 30 suits at once from costly tailors.

"I'm always looking for something exceptional," he said on camera to a jeweller who was showing him a watch worth 146,000 francs at the time (22,250 euros, $23,250).

Fifteen years later, the constant bachelor with a star profile of dark glasses, trimmed beard and sleek hair is wanted for having amassed a fortune worthy of a modern pharaoh in France.

The cars, lavish Paris home and other valuable items have since been seized by prosecutors in France, while Swiss authorities are also now on his case.

He has already surrendered a holiday home in Malibu to US authorities worth $30 million, as well as some of his beloved Michael Jackson memorabilia and a Ferrari.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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