Monday, May 21, 2007

More on Obiang

The Independent (London) reports today on President Teodoro Obiang's corruption and brutality (including his reputation for cannibalism).

Little Teodoro's place in Malibu gets a mention, along with the role of major oil companies in facilitating the Obiang family's exploitation of Equatorial Guinea's wealth:

When he wants to travel, the president has a choice of six personal planes, the most recent of which has a king-size bed and a bathroom with gold-plated taps. Destinations include the mansion in Maryland or the holiday home in Cape Town. Meanwhile his son, Teodorin, has managed to build an impressive fleet of Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bentleys, despite claiming to earn an official salary of only £30,000 a year. Many are in Paris, where he lives in a luxury hotel.

And if Paris or Cape Town become too dull, Little Teodoro, as some in Equatorial Guinea call him (although possibly not to his face), can always retire to his $35m Malibu mansion, where his neighbours include Britney Spears and Mel Gibson.

According to US investigators, much of the wealth was funnelled from American oil majors to Obiang's family through a once-prestigious US bank, Riggs. A Senate inquiry found that $700m had been deposited with Riggs, and that the oil companies were fully aware that the money was going to Obiang's private bank accounts. In one case, $450,000 in rental fees for office space was paid to a 14-year-old relative of Obiang.

Is this guy really only the tenth worst dictator in the world?