Son of E Guinea leader goes on trial in France

PARIS: The son of Equatorial Guinea’s leader, notorious for his extravagant taste in cars, homes and Michael Jackson memorabilia, goes on trial on Monday in Paris charged with plundering his country’s coffers to fund his jetset lifestyle in France.
Teodorin Obiang (pictured), his country’s vice-president, is accused of using state money to buy a mansion on one of the swankiest avenues in Paris as well as a collection of Italian supercars and other luxury items.
His lawyers have said they need more time to prepare his defence.
The trial is the first arising out of an investigation into the French assets of a trio of African leaders accused of leading a life of luxury abroad while their citizens live in poverty.
The 47-year-old shopaholic is not expected to attend the trial where he has been charged with corruption, embezzlement, misuse of public funds and breach of trust.
US officials have already forced him to forfeit property bought with the proceeds of corruption, accusing him of “shamelessly” looting his country.
His house on Avenue Foch in Paris, which boasts a cinema, spa, hair salon and taps covered in gold leaf, is estimated to be worth around $112 million.
When French judicial officials first launched raids in Paris in 2011, they hired trucks to haul away his Bugattis, Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other cars.
— Reuters