For you, Teodorin, the looting is over

I recently read a review of a book called “Enough” by Will Samson.  Subtitled “Contentment in an Age of Excess”, it should perhaps be compulsory reading for all despots, dictators and PEPs.  I’ve marvelled before at the Obiang greed – here and here.  Not content with running Equatorial Guinea as their own personal playground, the Obiangs – and most particularly son Teodorín – have been looting for years on what lawyer William Bourdon calls “a spectacular scale”.  This article from the New York Times goes into eye-watering detail about the excesses of Teodorín’s spending habits, and although I was intending to blog today on an entirely different subject, it just amused me so much that I thought you might enjoy it too.

Recently targeted for seizure by the French authorities in Paris are:

  • a 101-room building at avenue Foch 42, worth about £115 million and containing a Turkish bath, a hair salon, two gyms, a nightclub and a cinema
  • two Bugatti Veyrons, a Maybach, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari Enzo, a Ferrari 599 GTO, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Maserati MC12
  • a wine collection valued at £1.25 million
  • a clock worth £2.4 million
  • a painting by Degas and five works by Rodin
  • art worth £14 million bought from the private collection of Yves Saint Laurent, including a sixteenth century vermeil elephant (nope, me either – but you can see the Christie’s lot listing here).

My favourite bit of the whole article is this: “Emmanuel Marsigny, the younger Mr Obiang’s lawyer, rejects the charges brought against Mr Obiang.  ‘He earned money in accordance with the laws of Equatorial Guinea,’ Mr Marsigny said, ‘even if those don’t comply with international standards.'”  If he’s so keen on living by the laws of Equatorial Guinea, why does he spend all of his time in Paris and Malibu?  Could it be that Malabo is just not such a nice place to live, now that protracted looting means that it has intermittent electricity, non-existent healthcare, and raw sewage running in the streets?

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2 Responses to For you, Teodorin, the looting is over

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Satisfying to hear of the seizures. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that the wealth would immediately be returned to an uncorrupt EG government who would immediately use it for the benefit of all of her citizens. What do you imagine actually happens to the wealth under these confiscation orders Susan?

  2. Hello Roy

    I know – it’s a conundrum. I remember hearing that when Switzerland confiscated money from Abacha, they decided not simply to return it to Nigeria, in case his cronies – or others with their flexible attitude to public ownership – were still in power. Rather, the Swiss sent the money to the World Bank, on the understanding that it would be spent on public projects in Nigeria. I realise that’s not a perfect solution, when corrupt individuals cream their bit off every public project, but it’s a bit of lateral thinking. And I like the idea that Teodorin’s car collection might one day be translated into sewers in Malabo!

    Does anyone have any suggestions on good ways to tackle this problem?

    Best wishes from Susan

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