Bank Accounts of World's Longest Serving Leader Seized In France
Omar Bongo the President of Gabon, who is on record as the world's longest serving leader since the retirement of Cuba's Fidel Castro had some of his accounts in France freezed at the the behest of the French judiciary. A French court in the city of Bordeaux ordered Bongo's accounts to be forfeited in payment of money he received to release a jailed Frenchman Rene Cardona.
Rene Cardona was reportedly jailed in Gabon after a soured business deal with Bongo in which the Gabonese leader bought a fishing and shipping firm.Cardona was released after paying into Bongo's personal accounts the 437,347 or $583.454. According to Jean Philippe Le Bail counsel for the Cardonas, the nine accounts of the Gabonese Leader forfeited hold about 4 million euros.
The accounts seized are found with Credit Lyonnais where Bongo has two current accounts and a share account and BNP in which he has two checking accounts ,a savings account and a share account. Following judicial proceedings initiated by Cardona's son last September,a court decision ruling that payments made to Bongo were illegal and ordering him to repay entire sum, interests and legal costs was confirmed on appeal.
A Lawyer representing the Gabonese quoted by AFP described the dispute as private and added that a court in Libreville had ordered the Frenchman Cardona to pay Bongo 900.000 euros.Despite 48 days in a Gabonese jail, Cardona said he bore no ill feelings towards Bongo whom he described as a long time friend.
In power since 1967, the 72 year old Bongo has been having a very rough time of recent. French authorities with whom he had a very cosy relationship in the past has established that Bongo and his family have atleast 33 luxury properties in France.The monthly online publication Pan African Visions(www.panafricanvisions.com) reported in its February edition that the United States Congress had in a recent letter to Bongo expressed strong dismay for his heavy crackdown on anti corruption crusaders.
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