ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sale of a Plane Leads to the Arrest of a President's Son

No, not that President's son.  

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (shown here meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice) Obianghas been President of Equatorial Guinea since he deposed his uncle in a bloody coup in 1979.  His son and presumed successor, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, serves as Vice President.  According to Cecelia Macauley, writing for the BBC, the son, known as Teodorin, ordered the arrest of his half-brother, another of the President's sons, Ruslan Obiang Nsue, for having sold a plane belonging to an international airline based in Equatorial Guinea to a Spanish company.  Mr. Obiang Nsue had previously served as a director of the airline, and he is alleged to have pocketed the proceeds from the transaction.  The plane went missing while undergoing maintenance in Spain.

It is not the first time that Mr. Obiang Nsue has been implicated in corrupt dealings.  That said according to the BBC, Teodorin has also had his business dealings questioned.  The U.S., Switzerland, and France have all sanctioned him for using public funds to purchase luxury items, including a $30 million mansion and at least a dozen luxury cars. With the precedent established by his half brother, Mr. Obiang Nsue might have thought he was engaged in a standard contractual agreement when he sold the plane.  But sometimes contracts for the sale of goods (the illegal kind) become geo-political events.

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