Wednesday, November 10, 2010

France's highest appeals court has authorised judges to proceed with an investigation into assets held in the country by three African leaders. They are Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo and Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, as well as the late Gabonese leader, Omar Bongo.

The anti-corruption group Transparency International has accused the three of using African public funds to buy luxury homes and cars in France and estimates the total value of the three leaders' estates in France at 160m euros (£140m, $223m). President Obiang owned vehicles worth more than 4m euros, the late Bongo and his relations had 39 homes, and Mr Sassou Nguesso and his relations held 112 bank accounts. Investigations found that Bongo's wife Edith had bought a Daimler Chrysler car with a cheque drawn on a Gabonese government account in France. French police investigation found the leaders and their relatives owned homes in upmarket areas of Paris and on the Riviera, along with luxury cars including Bugattis, Ferraris and Maseratis.

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