Police on Tuesday raided the chic Parisian apartment of the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as part of an investigation into the French property holdings of three African heads of state.
Mangue was not present during the raid on the 1,000 square metre apartment on avenue Foch in the heart of Paris although police met with some resistance from occupants of the building who claimed diplomatic immunity.
Since December 2010, judges Roger Le Loire and Rene Gouman have been carrying out an investigation into how Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon’s late President Omar Bongo Ondimba managed to acquire substantial amounts of property in France.
The judges want to determine if it was bought illegally through the improper use of public funds.
Olivier Pardo, the lawyer for Equatorial Guinea, protested during the raid that the building did not belong to the French state and was the property of Equatorial Guinea.
“This is a diplomatic building,” he said. “We strongly contest the operation which is currently being carried out. It is an attack on the principles of international diplomacy.”
He claimed Equatorial Guinea’s representative at UN organization, Unesco, was currently staying in the apartment.
In September, police seized a number of vehicles belonging to the president from the same building in avenue Foch.