Wednesday, July 27, 2005


No Fashion Sense

The son of Equatorial Guinea's president has a reputation for spending millions on luxuries in Paris.

No matter how much he spends on clothes, Singaporeans will always think he is hopelessly out of fashion.

Here is the reason why:

The Times
July 21, 2005

President's playboy son splashes out £1m in luxury car spree
By Xan Rice

MOST of his country’s citizens survive on less than 60p a day, but that has not stopped the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea from spending nearly £1 million on three luxury cars during a remarkable shopping spree in South Africa.

Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the Minister of Forestry, Environment and Housing in his father’s Government, bought a black Bentley Arnage and a cream Bentley Mulliner worth £600,000 last weekend. He then added a white six-litre Lamborghini Murcielago worth £275,000 to his fleet, according to The Star newspaper.

Oil was discovered in Equatorial Guinea a decade ago and the country, a former Spanish colony, now has Africa’s fastest-growing economy. The boom inspired a failed coup attempt last year led by Simon Mann, a former SAS officer, and partly financed, unwittingly, by Sir Mark Thatcher.

Mr Obiang, 34, is renowned for his playboy lifestyle. A regular on the international party circuit, he owns a hip-hop record label in the United States and the only private radio station in Equatorial Guinea.

He is believed to own homes in London, Paris and Los Angeles, and to have two Cape Town mansions, each costing more than £2 million.

For his latest trip to Cape Town, Mr Obiang stayed in a £700-a-night suite at the Mount Nelson Hotel, and ran up a £1,300 bill on champagne for his entourage at the bar on Friday night. His new vehicles were outside. Staff said that they belonged to an “African prince”.

The Equatorial Guinean embassy in Pretoria would not comment on the visit, calling it “private business”.

Between 2001 and 2004, the GDP of Equatorial Guinea more than doubled, to $4.5 billion (£2.6 billion), but most people remain desperately poor.

American and European oil companies have ignored the Government’s appalling record on human rights.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have allegedly been siphoned off by President Obiang’s family, which includes more than a dozen government ministers who dominate the country’s security apparatus.

The US Senate is continuing its investigation into payments of $700 million of oil revenue into bank accounts under the President’s control.

Teodorin Obiang is known to have made millions of dollars from ownership of a timber company.

Despite his unpredictable nature — he is rumoured to have fired a shot during a recent argument with his ailing father, who has prostate cancer — he is the favourite to become the country’s next leader.

But he faces a bitter struggle with his brother, Gabriel Mbegha Nguema Lima, who is the Oil Minister, and his uncle, General Armengol Ondo Nguema, who is the National Security Adviser.

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