Anti-Corruption Takes Backseat to Interests in France’s Africa Ties

Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, shakes hand with Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma at the Elysee palace, Paris, Oct. 30, 2007 (AP photo by Jacques Brinon).
Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, shakes hand with Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma at the Elysee palace, Paris, Oct. 30, 2007 (AP photo by Jacques Brinon).
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On July 30, Societe Generale, one of France’s biggest banks, was declared an “assisting witness”—somewhere between a suspect and a witness—in a money-laundering case against Teodorin Obiang, the son of Teodoro Obiang, Equatorial Guinea’s president who has been in power since 1979. Days later, Maixent Accrombessi, a close aide to Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was held for questioning in a corruption probe in Paris hours before he was set to return to Libreville. His detention was part of an ongoing investigation into the French military-uniform company Marck—which signed a $7.6 million contract with Gabon in 2005—on suspicions of corruption […]

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