Congo: the president's son in the crosshairs of American justice

(Brazzaville) The son of the President of the Republic of the Congo is in the sights of justice in the United States for the presumed diversion of several million dollars from the coffers of the National Society of Petroleums of Congo (SNPC, 100% public), according to the NGO Global Witness.

France Media Agency

In Miami, US federal prosecutors “have made arrangements to seize” a luxurious property belonging to Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, the NGO claims. Global Witness was able to view the request from US prosecutors dated 12 June, and share it with media including AFP.

M. Sassou Nguesso bought a property of 325 m 2 , put up for sale at 2.4 million dollars, “with funds which he diverted from the SNPC”, according to this document, which retraces the circuit of the presumed money laundering.

In 2010, Mr. Sassou Nguesso son “was appointed by his father as deputy director general” of the SNPC. “This position gave him enormous control over the activities of the SNPC, and in particular its finances.”

“Between 2011 and 2014”, Mr. Sassou Nguesso son “embezzled millions of dollars from the SNPC,” according to the US court document released by the NGO. The funds passed through the accounts of front companies housed in a subsidiary of the Gabonese bank BGFI-Bank.

“Between 30 April 2009 and on 22 April 2016, he transferred approximately 10 millions of dollars to accounts Partner-Opened Banking in Florida.

This partner is a “US resident”, and “son of a former Gabonese government official”, details the request of the American prosecution.

The partner “used the stolen funds to acquire real estate and luxury items” for Mr. Sassou Nguesso and his relatives, “including the Miami property”.

Brazzaville has so far “no reaction” to the release of this document, a source in the presidency told AFP.

The family of President Sassou Nguesso is also the subject of an investigation into its heritage in France in the so-called “ill-gotten gains” case.

On his Facebook page, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, 45 years old, presents himself as a “philanthropist” and “ deputy of the city of Oyo “, the fief of his father, after having” officiated in the world of oil “.

His father, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, 76 years of which 35 in power, is a candidate for re-election during the ballot scheduled for March 2021.

Congo-Brazzaville (around five million inhabitants) anticipates a violent recession of 9% in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic – 19.

It has aggravated the situation of the highly indebted country, victim since 2014 of the fall in oil prices, its main resource.

Brazzaville obtained just a year ago from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid of 448 million dollars three years. Payments were suspended in December 2019. Among other things, the IMF calls on Brazzaville to go further in the fight against corruption.