Bloomberg News

U.S. Seeks Forfeitures From Equatorial Guinea Minister

October 25, 2011

(Updates with property in third paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. accused Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, a government minister in Equatorial Guinea, of corruption in complaints seeking the forfeiture of $70.8 million in property.

A complaint unsealed in federal court in California and a separate lawsuit filed today in Washington claim Nguema used his government position to get money through corruption and money laundering, in violation of Equatoguinean and U.S. law, according to an e-mailed statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

Nguema accumulated more than $100 million and bought a Gulfstream jet, a mansion in Malibu, California, almost $2 million in Michael Jackson memorabilia, and a Ferrari, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in the statement. The purchases were made through intermediaries and corporate entities, the U.S. said.

“Alleging that these extravagant items are the proceeds of foreign official corruption, the Department of Justice is seeking to seize them,” Breuer said. “The United States will not be a hiding place for the ill-gotten riches of the world’s corrupt leaders.”

Nguema is the son of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, the Justice Department said. Equatorial Guinea is Sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-biggest oil producer. Oil accounts for 81 percent of government revenue, which reached about $6.74 billion last year, according to the U.S. State Department.

’Near-Exclusive Beneficiaries’

The younger Nguema and close associates were “near- exclusive beneficiaries” of the extraction and sale of Equatorial Guinea’s natural resources, which under the country’s laws belong to its people, the Justice Department said.

Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to the U.S., Purificacion Angue Ondo, didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment

The Washington case is U.S. v. One Gulfstream G-V Jet Aircraft, 11-1874, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Washington).

--With assistance from Justin Blum in Washington. Editors: Stephen Farr, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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