The U.S. Justice Department has ordered Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the second vice president of Equatorial Guinea, to sell more than $30 million worth of property thought to have been purchased with funds earned from corrupt deals.
Obiang will surrender a mansion in Malibu, California, luxury cars, and Michael Jackson memorabilia. He will be able to keep items that are overseas, including Jackson's famous white crystal glove and a $38.5 million Gulfstream jet, but those could be taken if brought to the United States.
The order stems from a 2011 civil forfeiture case against Obiang, alleging he had close to $80 million from corrupt business dealings. "It is an extraordinary case in that this is the first case where [it is] a living person whose assets are being seized, so this is historic in that sense," Ken Hurwitz, a senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, told Voice of America. Other suits in the U.S. have been filed either after a person has already died or they are no longer in power.
Obiang, the son of the country's leader, says all of his items were bought with money he earned legally. The money from the sale of his assets will be donated to organizations that help the citizens of Equatorial Guinea, where the World Bank says three-quarters of residents live below the poverty line.