More than $1.4 million cash and $15 million worth of luxury watches were seized at a Brazilian airport from the delegation accompanying the vice president of Equatorial Guinea.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the vice president of Equatorial Guinea and the son of longtime President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, arrived near São Paulo as part of an 11-person delegation that was not on an official mission.
It is illegal to enter Brazil with more than $2,421 in cash, and only Obiang had diplomatic immunity during this trip. Brazilian authorities are weighing what actions to take.
Obiang is no stranger to international legal issues. In 2017, he was sentenced to three years in absentia by a French court for laundering social goods, misappropriating public funds, breach of trust and corruption.
In addition, some of his properties in France were seized and he was fined over €30 million.
Equatorial Guinea is an oil-rich country with a long track record of repression, isolation and corruption. President Obiang, who has been in power since a coup in 1979, recently survived a coup attempt in December 2017.
News of the confiscations in Brazil comes on the heels of an announcement in August by the government of Equatorial Guinea that all lawmakers must seek permission from the vice president for any travel.
A similar ban was imposed just months earlier on all civil servants, a move described by insiders as a response to the attempted coup.
Sources: The Standard (Kenya), AFP