Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-145
Omar Bongo / Lobbyist Case
Gabon
President (1967-2009)
Malta
Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2010
Unknown
Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Case in Investigatory/Asset Restraint Stage
Unknown
Unspecified
Ongoing case
Ongoing
Investigation/Asset Tracing/Asset Restraint
Ongoing
N/A

In the aftermath of the February 4, 2010 U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing and investigation report on Mr. Bongo, Malta press reported that Maltese authorities were investigating alleged transfer of funds by Mr. Bongo's Washington lobbyist Jeffrey Birrell to that country. (Source: Malta Today, "Late Gabon President Omar Bongo had [EUR] 7 million Malta bank account," May 2, 2010.) The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Press Release stated that in 2006, $18 million in funds from Gabon were wired to the U.S. corporate bank accounts of a U.S. lobbyist who then distributed the funds within the United States and across the globe as directed by President Bongo in connection with two projects to support his regime, buying U.S.-made armored cars and C-130 military cargo planes. Among the funds the lobbyist distributed was $9.2 million which he wire transferred to an account for President Omar Bongo - not in Gabon - but in the country of Malta. (Source: United States Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Majority and Minority Staff Report, "Keeping Foreign Corruption Out of the United States: Four Case Histories," released in conjunction with the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations February 4, 2010 Hearing.)

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.)