April 22, 2013
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal judge has dismissed a suit brought by the Justice Department to seize a Gulfstream jet owned by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, second vice president of the Republic of
and the son of the country's president.
U.S. District Judge
ruled Friday that the government had failed to meet its burden of proof by linking the jet to specific illegal acts. The case was a civil forfeiture suit brought under a law allowing the government to seize assets of foreign nationals that are the fruit of criminal activity or corruption.
, a federal judge in
dismissed a similar complaint brought by the Justice Department against Mr. Nguema seeking to seize property in
. In that decision, judge also ruled that the Department of Justice had failed to present information to show that Mr. Nguema's funds were obtained through illegal activity or that he had participated in any illegal activity.
He described the charges in the complaint as "vague" and called the complaint "devoid of any facts that might support allegations that Nguema directly participated in extortion, misappropriation, theft or embezzlement."
"I am pleased, l of course, by this ruling," said Mr. Nguema. "I have great respect for
the United States
and its justice system. The law must work for everyone, and two separate federal judges have now dismissed cases brought against me. From the beginning, we sought to cooperate with the Department of Justice as it conducted its investigation, but my attorneys' efforts were rejected. I regret that we have had to go this far, but I am prepared to continue to fight to defend myself of these unfounded charges."
About Equatorial Guinea
Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial
) is the only Spanish-speaking country in
, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. In the late-1990s, American companies helped discover the country's oil and natural gas resources, which only within the last five years began contributing to the global energy supply.
Equatorial Guinea is now working to serve as a pillar of stability and security in its region of West Central Africa.
The country hosted the 2011 Summit of the African Union. For more information, visit