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Son of Equatorial Guinea President Arrested Over Alleged Sale of National Airline

Son of Equatorial Guinea President Held Over Alleged Sale of Plane (News Central TV)

A son of the president of Equatorial Guinea has been detained on suspicion of selling a national airline in violation of the law.

“Ruslan Obiang has confessed that he was the person who sold Ceiba’s ATR, I will not allow myself to be carried away by familialism or favouritism, which is why I have ordered his immediate arrest and handing him over to justice,” his half-brother, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, nicknamed “Teodorin”, said on Twitter.

According to state media, Ruslan Obiang Nsue is believed to have sold the 74-seat turboprop to a Canary Islands-based firm.

When it was learned that the jet had vanished while receiving routine maintenance in Spain, an investigation was started last year.

The suspect formerly served as the head of the national airline in Equatorial Guinea, a nation firmly controlled by President Obiang Nguema’s family for 43 years.

Teodoro Obiang was given a final sentence by the French judiciary at the end of July 2021, which included a three-year prison term with a suspended sentence, fines totaling 30 million euros, and the confiscation of his French assets for accumulating a lavish patrimony as part of the “ill-gotten gains” cases.

Following anti-corruption investigations, London additionally froze his financial assets in the U.K. and issued a travel restriction in July 2021. Malabo then protested the decision by closing its embassy there.

For a member of the president’s family in the tiny, oil-rich nation of central Africa, Ruslan Obiang Nsue’s detention is unprecedented.

The disappearance of the jet and its purported sale by Mr. Obiang Nsue in December of last year provoked uproar across the country.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea has been in power for more than 43 years and was recently re-elected for a sixth seven-year term. He currently holds the record for the longest tenure of any living head of state, excluding monarchs, in the world.

According to the World Bank, Equatorial Guinea has the third-highest GDP per capita in sub-Saharan Africa as of 2021, however it was 172nd out of 180 nations in the Transparency International corruption index.

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