Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-144
Omar Bongo
Gabon
President (1967-2009)
France
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2007
Ongoing
Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Criminal Prosecution
No
N/A
Ongoing Case, but Transparency International stated that this is the first time French courts allowed such a complaint by nongovernmental organizations to proceed. Source: Transparency International Press Release, "'Biens Mal Acquis' Case: French Supreme Court Overrules Court of Appeal's Decision: The complaint filed by Transparency International France is ruled admissible," November 9, 2010.
Ongoing
Before Court of First Instance
Unspecified
Ongoing
N/A

Three non-governmental organizations had filed their "Biens Mal Acquis" (Improperly acquired property) complaint against Omar Bongo, Denis Sassou Nguesso and Teodoro Obiang and their relatives. (Source: Supreme Court of France, Case No. 6092, decision of November 9, 2010, L'association Transparence Intenrational France, partie civile, reversing High Court of Paris, section 2, judgment of October 29, 2009.) With regard to Mr. Bongo and his relatives, the complaint alleged that they had acquired real estate, including thirty-nine properties, seventeen of which are registered in his name. According to Transparency International, most of the properties are located in Paris' upscale 16th district; seventy identified bank accounts, eleven of which are registered in name of Omar Bongo, and a fleet of automobiles comprising at least nine vehicles for a total estimated value of EUR 1,493,443. (Source: Transparency International Press Release, "'Biens Mal Acquis' Case: French Supreme Court Overrules Court of Appeal's Decision, The complaint by Transparence International France is ruled admissible," November 9, 2010.)

According to the August 18, 2015 message by President Bongo, on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the independence of Gabon, he had decided to offer the Gabonese people all income from part of his inheritance to assist in the education and training of the Gabonese youth, the residence of Omar Bongo Ondimba in the capital will be sold to the state to build a university and two Paris properties will be sold to the state and earmarked for the promotion of culture and diplomatic influences of the country. (Source: Republique Gabonaise, Direction de la communication Presidentielle, August 18, 2015)

In November 2010, the French Supreme Court held that the criminal complaint filed earlier by Transparency International and other non-governmental organizations against Mr. Bongo may proceed. (Source: Supreme Court of France, Case No. 6092, decision of November 9, 2010, L'association Transparence Intenrational France, partie civile, reversing High Court of Paris, section 2, judgment of October 29, 2009.)

NA
Investigating Magistrate
Public Prosecutor
Supreme Court, High Court (Paris)