Equatorial Guinea has taken France to the United Nation’s highest court, seeking to stop a corruption case against its vice president Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, arguing that he is immune from prosecution.
Mangue, son to the country’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has been accused of misspending millions of euros of public funds in acquiring real estate, luxury cars, art and other goods in France.
The hearing at the International Court of Justice comes a week before Mangue is scheduled to appear before a French court to answer the charges.
“The immunity of a person holding high-ranking office in Equatorial Guinea has been ignored and — worse still — the charges against the vice president have reached the final phase of the proceedings,” lawyer Maurice Kamto told the world court. “He is open to the risk of judgment and conviction at any time.”
The French case is part of a long-running corruption probe targeting the acquisition of properties in France by the leaders of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo, alleging that they used public funds to enrich themselves.