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Guinean officials accused of money laundering

MADRID – A human rights group said Tuesday it had filed a complaint with Spanish prosecutors against 11 people close to Equatorial Guinea’s president over money laundering accusations.

"We have filed this complaint with anti-corruption public prosecutors. We hope that they will agree to investigate these facts," the president of the association Pro-Human Rights In Spain (APDHE), Manuel Olle, told AFP.

Among the 11 are members of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s family and high-ranking political officials. Obiang is not named in the complaint because he would, as president, "certainly be protected by immunity", said Olle.

The group accused them of laundering about USD 26 million (EUR 20 million) between 2000 and 2003.

The rights group claims the 11 illegally transferred money out of Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, before depositing the funds in several accounts in US bank Riggs.

The money was then transferred to two accounts in Spain’s biggest bank, Santander, from where it was used to buy property, Olle added.

The rights group said it based its complaint on a "deep" investigation which it carried out, as well as on the work carried out by a US Senate sub-commission, Olle said.

Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979 with an iron fist. The country is Africa’s third-biggest oil producer after Nigeria and Angola following the discovery of large offshore oil deposits in the early 1990s but the benefits have yet to trickle down.

[AFP / Expatica]