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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

France fines son of Equatorial Guinea leader, Teodorin Obiang €30m for alleged corruption

The vice president of Equatorial Guinea, who is also the president's son has been fined for alleged corruption. Authorities previously seized his €107 million Paris mansion and fleet of expensive cars.

A French court on Monday ruled against Teodorin Obiang, the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, in a years-long embezzlement process launched by a group of anti-corruption NGOs.

Obiang was ordered to pay a €30 million ($32.9 million) fine. He also faces a suspended jail term of three years after a lower court found him guilty on a range of charges relating to graft and money laundering. Additionally, the Paris appeals court confirmed the seizure of his property, including a six-level mansion in Paris which had been valued at €107 million in 2012.

The ruling is an "important moment," said Marc-Andre Feffer of Transparency International France, which was among the NGOs spearheading the case.

It "seemed unacceptable to us for France to remain a place where foreign leaders could launder dirty money from the embezzlement of public funds by buying buildings and so on," he told the DPA news agency.

In addition to being the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, the 50-year-old Obiang is also the son and the most likely successor of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled the impoverished country for more than four decades.

His legal team has one final option for appeal left, they could challenge the Monday veridict before the Cour de Cassation, France's highest appeals court for criminal cases

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