The son of dictator Teodoro Obiang was sentenced by a French court to three years in prison for embezzling millions in public money. This is a historic decision in the fight against corruption and should pave the way for ending the impunity that kleptocratic leaders enjoy in democratic countries.

Oct 27, 2017

Teodorin Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, has been given a three-year suspended jail term by a French court for plundering public money from his oil-rich but impoverished west African state to fund a jet-set lifestyle in Paris.

Obiang, 48 – the eldest son of president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – was tried in absentia and also given a suspended fine of €30m for embezzlement, money-laundering, corruption and abuse of trust.

The landmark case – spearheaded by two anti-corruption NGOs, Sherpa and Transparency International – marks a turning point in France, which has long turned a blind eye to the families of corrupt foreign dictators buying up Paris real estate and going on luxury spending sprees.

It is the first of three cases involving families of African leaders from various countries, including Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville, accused of using “ill-gotten gains” from their nations to fund luxury lifestyles France.