Teodorin Obiang: 'Arrest warrant' for E Guinea leader's son

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. Teodorin Obiang serves as Equatorial Guinea's agriculture minister

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A French judge has issued an international arrest warrant for the son of the president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, reports say.

Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue is being sought on money-laundering charges.

Mr Obiang, the son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, denies any wrongdoing.

The judge, Roger Le Loire, issued the warrant after Mr Obiang refused to be interviewed by magistrates on charges of corruption, legal sources say.

Mr Obiang's lawyer told the AFP news agency that he had not been informed that any mandate for his client's arrest had been issued.

He added that any such warrant would be a "non-event" due to Mr Obiang's status.

"Mr Obiang has judicial immunity as he is the vice-president of Equatorial Guinea and therefore could not attend the summons," Emmanuel Marsigny told AFP.

According to French newspaper Le Monde, the warrant for Mr Obiang - known as Teodorin in his country - was issued on Thursday.

French judges are investigating allegations that several African leaders have bought assets in France with embezzled state funds.

They are looking at President Obiang as well as Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.

Correspondents say Teodorin Obiang, who also serves as agriculture minister, is known for his lavish lifestyle.

He recently hit the headlines when he honoured his promise to pay his national football team $1m (£641,000) for winning the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations which Equatorial Guinea co-hosted earlier this year.

The original legal complaint was brought by Transparency International, an anti-corruption campaign group that accuses several African leaders of acquiring property, cars and luxury items in France using misappropriated public money.

In October 2011, the US government said it would seek to recover assets worth more $70m (£44m) from Teodorin Obiang. A month earlier, French police seized several luxury cars from him.

Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa's largest oil exporters, but most of its 720,000-strong population lives in poverty.

President Obiang seized power from his uncle in 1979 and was re-elected in 2009 with 95% of the vote.

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