Equatorial Guinea will close its diplomatic mission in London, the country’s foreign minister says. The move comes after Britain last week sanctioned the son of its president for misappropriating millions of dollars.
“The first decision that the Malabo executive has taken is the total closure of our diplomatic headquarters in London,” Simeon Oyono Esono, the country’s foreign minister, announced on official television.
“Equatorial Guinea will not accept interference in the country’s internal affairs, which violates the principle of international law,” He added.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the vice president of Equatorial Guinea, was sanctioned by London for “misappropriation of public funds” and bribery that allowed him to live a luxurious lifestyle. He allegedly spent over $500 million on luxury houses, private aircraft, vehicles, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
The central African nation has accused the British government of “unilateral and illegal” sanctions against it. In addition, Equatorial Guinea accuses some non-governmental organizations of spreading “lies” about its good image and has characterized the British government’s attitude as “unfriendly.”
Britain said last week that it would impose an asset freeze and a travel restriction on Mangue to prevent him from channeling money via UK banks or entering the country.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 79, has governed Equatorial Guinea for more than 41 years, his son Teodoro the vice President, who has been ubiquitous on the public stage for more than a year, is increasingly being portrayed as his successor.
Equatorial Guinea has a population of just over a million people. Over the last several decades, the country’s economy has grown significantly due to the extraction of its oil deposits. Yet, according to World Bank data, more than 76 percent of the population remains impoverished.
The president’s son Teodoro Nguema was convicted to three years in jail with a suspended sentence, 30 million euros in fines, and seizure of his assets in France on February 10, 2020. The Court of Cassation, France’s top court, is scheduled to rule on July 28.