five children of Omar Bongo indicted in France

Five more children of the late Gabon President Omar Bongo Ondimba, including his eldest daughter, Pascaline, have been indicted in Paris in the “ill-gotten gains” case, suspected of exploiting real estate “fraudulently” acquired in France by their father. This new series brings to at least nine the number of children of Omar Bongo, half-brothers and half-sisters of his son and successor in the head of the country, Ali Bongo, who is on trial in this judicial investigation led by a Parisian fiscal judge. .

Pascaline Bongo, 66, former director of her father’s cabinet; Omar Denis Jr Bongo, 28, also grandson of Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso; Jeanne Matoua, 38; and Joseph Matoua, 40, were indicted between June and July, according to a judicial source at Agence France-Presse (AFP), who on Friday July 29 confirmed information from the website The Intelligence of Africa. They are being prosecuted for concealment of embezzlement of public funds, active and passive corruption, money laundering and misappropriation of corporate assets.

French law suspects them of having “knowing” benefited from a significant property portfolio “fraudulent” collected in France by the Patriarch, President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. The value of these items was recently assessed by the courts “at least 85 million euros”.

For Pascaline Bongo’s lawyer, Me Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, who is in this procedure “a legal and factual anachronism”. According to information obtained by AFP, Pascaline Bongo told investigators in January 2020 that she owned, among other things, several apartments in the city center of Paris, acquired by her father from the 1970s to 1990. Very close to her father, she was chief of staff at the Palais du Bord de Libreville, seat of the Presidency.

Lawyer for Omar Denis Jr Bongo, Me Jean-Marie Viala contested with AFP the accusation against his client “on the basis of the law”, “no to morals”.

Other children already charged

Between March and April, Parisian fiscal judge Dominique Blanc had already indicted Grace, Betty, Arthur and then Hermine Bongo, other children of the late president. These 50-year-olds all denied being aware that the fortune was fraudulent. Other children, among the 54 from France’s former historic partner in Central Africa, could follow.

Also read: “Gains made” in Gabon: first charges in France against children of Omar Bongo

The Bongo family’s “enormous wealth” comes, according to a February judgment from the Paris Court of Appeal, “from money derived from the embezzlement of public funds and significant sums from the crime of corruption of oil companies”, particularly Elf Aquitaine, now Totalenergi. To “the investigations carried out in this procedure have confirmed”according to the investigating judge.

“It’s a whole family clan that will have to be held accountable”reacted to AFP Me William Bourdon, lawyer for Transparency International France, civil party to the case. “The beneficiaries, including French, have been appointed; which will allow a complete legal panorama. Everyone must measure the colossal amounts involved”, he added.

In this investigation, launched following a complaint by NGOs, in 2007, in addition to the Bongo children and BNP Paribas, at least fourteen other individuals were prosecuted, including members of President Sassou Nguesso’s family, and several French nationals, including a lawyer , a notary or a manager of a property civil society (SCI).

also read Bongo family ‘unfortunate gains’: BNP Paribas indicted for ‘money laundering’

“This does not concern the President of the Republic or any member of the President of the Gabonese Republic, so there is nothing to comment on.”said Jessye Ella Ekogha, spokesman for the Gabonese presidency, when asked by AFP. “However, it appears that the media has adopted as a marketing strategy to systematically associate the Head of State, Ali Bongo Ondimba, with a case that he has never been concerned about or heard of. This has to stop”he added.

Head of State, Ali Bongo enjoys immunity and is therefore not at risk of prosecution in the near future.

also read Article reserved for our subscribers The bongo booty

The world with AFP

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