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Monday
Sep172018

Kleptocurrency: $16 million seized from Equatorial Guinea VP in Brazil

Police in Brazil confiscated a bag of luxury watches and cash from Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue and his entourage after their private plane landed at an airport near Sao Paulo. 

Obiang is the vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of the president. 

According to reports, police searched the luggage and found around $1.5 million of cash in one bag, and watches worth around $15 million in another. 

The eleven-person entourage arrived last Friday at the Viracopos airport outside Sao Paulo by private jet, the Guardian said. 

It's illegal to enter Brazil with more than 10,000 reais ($2,400) in cash without declaring it.

Last year a French court convicted Obiang of embezzling public money and using it to buy a 20-room apartment in Paris worth about €80 million ($93 million), a fleet of luxury cars, and high-end art.

In 2014, the U.S. DOJ brought a forfeiture action against Obiang under the Kleptocracy Initiative.

In a settlement, Obiang was forced to sell a $30 million mansion in Malibu, California and donate the money to a charity to help people in Equatorial Guinea.

He also forfeited a Ferrari and Michael Jackson memorabilia, and another $10.3 million in cash. The DOJ said the assets were "the proceeds of corruption." 

His father, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has been the president of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. 

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Harry Cassin is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.