The Son Of A West African Dictator Can’t Stop Showing Off His Wealth On Instagram
There’s nothing like being born into a family of privilege: just ask Hunter Biden, for instance.
Teddy Obiang, the the son of a West African dictator, knows this well. And Obiang, judging by the assets he has had confiscated from him over the last decade, likes the “finer things in life” and has no trouble paying for them, according to Bloomberg.
Obiang is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and is the first Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, a nation flush with oil resources. And Obiang’s run ins with Swiss authorities as a result of a recent corruption probe have not stopped him from flaunting his latest prized possessions and adventures on his Instagram account.
On June 11, for instance, he posted two men helping him out at a clothing store while he inspected a garment. The photo also includes tea service.
Just one week later, he posted photos of himself snorkeling in what looks like Caribbean waters. On August 29, he posted a photo of himself on a boat off the Capri coast.
Earlier this month, Swiss authorities brought to a close a years long corruption probe into Obiang. It ended with the auction of more than two dozen supercars that once belonged to him. The cars, including a Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Lamborghini Veneno and Koenigsegg One, netted $27 million.
Equatorial Guinea argued that the cars belonged to a state-owned company.
Human Rights Watch says that corruption in Obiang’s country has siphoned money from social programs. It also said that two superyachts that Obiang uses are worth a combined $250 million. The yachts, including the 250-foot “Ebony Shine” and 300-foot “Ice” were recently located off the Italian Riviera.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea recently told a Swiss court that the yachts are “state property”, despite the entities owning the boats being controlled by Obiang.
Ken Hurwitz, senior counsel for the Open Society Justice Initiative said: “Governments don’t like him but they don’t want to make too much of an enemy of Equatorial Guinea. Most of the oil is still controlled by American companies.”
In 2014, Obiang reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to relinquish more than $30 million in assets, including a hilltop mansion in Malibu.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said in 2014: “Obiang shamelessly looted his government and shook down businesses in his country to support his lavish lifestyle, while many of his fellow citizens lived in extreme poverty.”
In France in 2017, Obiang was convicted in absentia of embezzlement. A Paris court ordered more than $110 million in assets to be seized, including a mansion near the Champs-Elysees. Obiang avoided jail time as the court handed down a 3 year suspended sentence. His lawyers argued he had “diplomatic immunity and that the property served as Equatorial Guinea’s embassy.”
Brazilian authorities stopped Obiang at an airport last year, reportedly seizing 20 watches worth $15 million and more than $1.4 million in cash. They returned $10,000, the maximum that can be brought into Brazil undeclared.
The secretary of Equatorial Guinea’s embassy in Brazil said “the watches were for personal use and the cash was to be used on a subsequent trip to Singapore.”
Despite the seizures, Obiang has been able to keep his Gulfstream jet (which will be seized if he ever returns to the U.S.) and $1 million in Michael Jackson memorabilia, including a sequin-encrusted glove.
Equatorial Guinea’s GDP has rocketed more than 5,000% since the discovery of oil in the country in 1996. It makes the 28,000 square mile country the third richest in Africa, per capita. Oil made up 80% of the country’s fiscal revenue in 2015, but the Obiangs have said that they’re using the newfound wealth to improve the lives of their citizens.
But the distribution of the wealth tells a different tale. More than half of the country’s children under 5 years old lack access to adequate food and about 9% of youngsters in the age group die, according to a 2017 UNICEF report. The average life expectancy in the country is just 58, compared to 66 in neighboring Gabon.
Meanwhile the country recently sought – and was granted – a $700 million loan from the IMF to bolster its currency. An IMF spokeswoman said: “The IMF has supported the authorities’ efforts to devise a national strategy to improve governance and fight corruption through the preparation of a report on governance.”
Sarah Saadoun, a corruption researcher at Human Rights Watch said: “If they just sold those two yachts, they’d have a third of their loan request.”
Fri, 11/01/2019 – 04:15