Paris police raid flat of African ruler's son

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AFP – February 15,  2012

French police on Tuesday searched an upmarket Paris residence of the son of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema as part of a corruption probe, sources have said.

The president's son, Teodoro Obiang Mangue, was reportedly absent during the search by anti-graft police who were met with some resistance from occupants who claimed the building was protected by diplomatic immunity.

The 1,000-square metre apartment in a six-storey mansion is on the chic Avenue Foch in Paris's expensive 16th arrondissement.

French judges Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman have since 2010 been probing the source of money spent in France by Obiang, Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.

The charges were brought by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption campaign group which alleges the leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France.

TI alleges Obiang owned more than four million euros worth of vehicles in France, while altogether the three leaders had accumulated French assets worth $210 million.

Obiang has accused TI of running a campaign of disinformation, and criticised rich nations for a "savage exploitation" of his country's natural resources.

Money laundering

In September last year, 11 of the family's luxury cars were seized in Paris as part of the probe.

Original article on Africa Review website