Equatorial Guinea sues France at UN court over Paris mansion

Sep 29, 2022, 11:30 PM | Updated: Sep 30, 2022, 11:42 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Equatorial Guinea has filed a case against France at the International Court of Justice accusing Paris of “misappropriation of public funds,” the court announced Friday. It’s the latest step in a lengthy legal tug-of-war centered on a mansion situated on an expensive avenue in the French capital.

The latest case is linked to the conviction, upheld at appeal last year, in France of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s long-serving president for money laundering and embezzling millions of dollars in public money. The French court handed him a three-year suspended sentence, fined him 30 million euros and ordered property in France worth tens of millions of euros seized. That included the mansion on Avenue Foch, which France now plans to sell.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice said that Equatorial Guinea says it has made requests, based on a United Nations anti-corruption convention, “to recover certain assets corresponding to property confiscated by France” that the French government has not responded to. Among the assets requested is the Avenue Foch mansion. The African country filed the case against France Thursday.

Equatorial Guinea argues that by “disregarding” the request, France has “violated its obligations under the Convention,” the court said.

The African nation is asking the court to rule that France is breaching the U.N. convention and to order France to “return to Equatorial Guinea all property that is the subject of a recovery request from Equatorial Guinea.”

It also asks the court to impose an immediate ban on the sale of the mansion on the broad avenue leading to the Arc de Triomphe.

While the case could take years at the Hague-based court, a hearing will likely be scheduled in coming weeks to discuss the urgent request for the sale ban.

It is not the first time the mansion has been the subject of a case at the U.N.’s highest judicial organ. In December 2020, the world court ruled that the property was never a diplomatic outpost, rejecting Equatorial Guinea’s argument that it served as the country’s embassy and that France therefore was barred from seizing it under a treaty governing diplomatic relations between countries.

Obiang was accused by French prosecutors of spending tens of millions of dollars in France with funds stemming from corruption, embezzlement and extortion in his country. He has led a lavish lifestyle involving luxury and sports cars, designer clothes, artworks of great value and high-end real estate.

Despite its oil and gas riches, Equatorial Guinea has a dramatic gap between its privileged ruling class and much of the population, which thrives mainly on subsistence farming. The former Spanish colony is run by Africa’s longest-serving president, Obiang’s father Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
18 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Deep, 5.8 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong and deep earthquake shook Indonesia’s capital and other parts of the main island Java on Thursday but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for several seconds and some ordered evacuations. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Military personnel watch as Air Force One, with President Donald Trump, aboard prepares to d...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than half a century, the last Boeing 747 rolled out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday. The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles — a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft — since it debuted […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Jailed, former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina attends his pre-trial hearing for alle...
Associated Press

Guatemalan court convicts ex-president of fraud, conspiracy

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A court in Guatemala convicted former President Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, on fraud and conspiracy counts Wednesday. Their sentences have yet to be announced. Both were acquitted of illegal enrichment charges. Pérez Molina and Baldetti resigned in 2015 and have been in custody on charges of […]
18 hours ago
Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, is visible of...
Associated Press

1st US floating offshore wind auction nets $757M in bids

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first-ever U.S. auction of leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast attracted $757 million in winning bids Wednesday from mostly European companies, in a project watched by other regions and countries just getting their own plans for floating offshore wind started. The […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Equatorial Guinea sues France at UN court over Paris mansion