October 26, 2011
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
Use of “In Rem” Legal Proceedings Major Step in Battle Against Corruption
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity welcomed efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to seize over $70.8 million in corrupt wealth from Teodorin Obiang, the infamous son of the President of Equatorial Guinea.
Yesterday, the DOJ unveiled asset forfeiture complaints accusing Mr. Obiang of amassing over $100 million in wealth despite earning an official annual salary of less than $100,000. The DOJ alleges that Mr. Obiang “used intermediaries and corporate entities to acquire numerous assets in the United States, including more than $1.8 million worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia, a $38.5 million Gulfstream G-V jet, a $30 million house in Malibu, Calif., and a 2011 Ferrari automobile valued at more than $530,000.”
“This is a very welcome move by the United States,” said Raymond Baker, director of Global Financial Integrity. “Finally, the United States is sending the message that it will no longer harbor the illicit assets of corrupt foreign officials.”
Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, the Caux Round Table, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Lord Daniel Brennan, among others, have for years supported the filing of in remmotions like this one as a potent legal weapon in the global fight against corruption.
“I am delighted to see the Department of Justice commencing in rem proceedings against assets wrongfully acquired,” said Lord Daniel Brennan, QC, co-chair of the GFI Advisory Board. “Going after the assets, bringing them under the jurisdiction of a court, and then returning their value to the countries in which the wealth originated is a major step in deterring future corruption, and something that we have been advocating the use of for several years.”
Notes for Editors:
- Click here to read the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release on the civil forfeiture actions filed against Teodoro Obiang
- Click here to read Sen. Carl Levin’s statement on the civil forfeiture actions filed against Teodoro Obiang
- Click here to read Global Witness’ statement on the civil forfeiture actions filed against Teodoro Obiang
Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system.
For additional information please visit www.gfip.org.