The soap opera of « ill-gotten gains » opposing French justice to African leaders, in this case, the families and relatives of Presidents Omar Bongo of Gabon, Denis Sassou N’Guesso of Congo and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, continues to animate the debates on the continent. In the case of Gabon, assets of the « Bongo clan » estimated at 152 million euros were seized in France.
The case of « ill-gotten gains », which pits French justice against the families and relatives of Presidents Omar Bongo (Gabon), Denis Sassou N’Guesso (Congo) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea), whose mystery is difficult to decipher, concerns in particular real estate, furniture and other valuables located in Europe and whose acquisition is the result of misappropriation of public funds. Indeed, more than 152 million euros of the « Bongo clan’s » assets have been seized in France.
This information, which was relayed by the French press, reveals that the Central Office for the Repression of Serious Financial Crime (OCRGDF) has already seized several assets presumed to have been ill-gotten by Omar Bongo, who died in 2009, with his family and their relatives accounting for nearly a third of the seizures made since 2011 by the French Judicial Police, i.e. 500 million euros.
« On all fronts, the police officers of the BMA group have about fifteen cases underway, one of which, known as Chinese castles, at the initiative of the Bordeaux judicial police, led to the seizure, in 2018, of properties and vineyards, » revealed Le Figaro in an article published on 5 April.
This case, which has had several episodes and has often dealt a « diplomatic » blow to relations between France on the one hand, and Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea on the other, even if the authorities, due to the complexity of Franco-African relations, have always used subterfuge to circumvent justice.
It should be recalled that the French justice system recently rejected the Equatorial Guinean authorities in their attempt to recover a luxury residence in Paris, which was presented as part of the galaxy of alleged ill-gotten gains.